Jobs Sprawling in Metro Areas

Recent research from the Brookings Institution looks at 98 metropolitan areas and finds that fewer people are working close to downtowns, and there are fewer jobs located in those areas.

"Only 21 percent of employees in the top 98 metro areas work within three miles of downtown, while over twice that share (45 percent) work more than 10 miles away from the city center. The larger the metro area, the more likely people are to work more than 10 miles away from downtown; almost 50 percent of jobs in larger metros like Detroit, Chicago, and Dallas locate more than 10 miles away on average compared to just 27 percent of jobs in smaller metros like Lexington-Fayette, Boise, and Syracuse."

"Employment steadily decentralized between 1998 and 2006: 95 out of 98 metro areas saw a decrease in the share of jobs located within three miles of downtown. The number of jobs in the top 98 metro areas increased overall during this time period, but the outer-most parts of these metro areas saw employment increase by 17 percent, compared to a gain of less than one percent in the urban core. Southern metro areas were particularly emblematic of the outward shift of job share with a 2.6 percentage-point decline in urban core job share and a 4.8 point gain in the outermost ring, outpacing the 98 metro average (a 2.1 point decline and a 2.6 point gain, respectively)."

Full Story: Job Sprawl Revisited: The Changing Geography of Metropolitan Employment



This study will be used as

This study will be used as "evidence" by the "mobility first" pundits that our transportation dollars should be spent as they were in the 1950's and 1960's - on building more road capacity for drivers to reach their suburban jobs. They'll also note that, as they are wont to do, that it is therefore futile to build additional transit capacity (and while they're at it, reiterate their stance on how building mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods that are accessible by transit is "social engineering").

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