CHICAGO (CBS) — The latest Census figures show population growth in Chicago has pretty much ground to a halt, and civic planning experts have said it’s a matter of great concern.

Chicago remains the third largest city in the U.S., but Census data show it’s the slowest-growing of the top 10 cities with populations of 1 million or more.

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Metropolitan Planning Council director Marisa Novara didn’t deny the mayor’s claim about companies bringing more jobs downtown. She said downtown is the one place where the population is growing.

“From 2000 to 2010, a tremendous population growth in and around the Loop; so there’s absolutely no denying that, and that’s a great asset to build upon, but if you look across the entire region, and the access that people have to jobs around the region, that’s something that we are still struggling with,” she said.

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If people are moving to Chicago, it means a boost for the economy and tax revenue, which Chicago sorely needs.

“If the Chicago region were growing at the average rate of the top 20 U.S. metros, every year we would gain 75,000 more residents, and it’s not just people, but with those people come over $4 billion in personal income, and we estimate over $270 million in additional state and local tax funds,” Novara said.

Novara said she can’t point to one factor to explain the city’s stagnant population, “but cities that are growing are investing in transit, and in housing, and in jobs near transit.”

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