Gentrification And Sprawl Describe U.S. Domestic Migration Pattern

Is the donut effect spreading to the suburbs? First it was older cities that lost population to their suburbs, but that flight now has spread to their greater metro areas. Paradoxically, gentrification occurs as the wealthy return to the cities.

The Census Bureau measured domestic migration -- people moving within the United States -- and discovered that nearly every large metropolitan area had more people move out than move in from 2000 to 2004.

"It's a case of middle class flight, a flight for housing affordability," said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. "But it's not just white middle class flight, it's Hispanics and blacks, too."

The states that attracted the most new residents: Florida, Arizona, and Nevada. The states that lost the most: California, New York, and Illinois.

"New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago -- the three biggest metropolitan areas -- lost the most residents to domestic moves. The New York metropolitan area had a net loss of more than 210,000 residents a year from 2000 to 2004."

Richard Florida, a professor of public policy at George Mason University, said smaller, wealthier households are replacing larger families in many big metropolitan areas, driving up housing prices even as the population shrinks, and chasing away even more members of the middle class. "Because they are bidding up prices, they are forcing some people out to the exurbs and the fringe," Florida said.

Thanks to MTC-ABAG_Library, Oakland, CA

Full Story: Middle class flees U.S. cities, seeking affordable housing



Irvin Dawid's picture

The new doughnut pattern of urban growth in America

It's called the doughnut effect because the inside shrinks as the edges expand - the case of most metropolitan areas since 1950.

Demographer William Frey and and Professor Richard Florida may have added a new dimension to this term: The Jelly Doughut effect - a rich center in addition to the ever-expanding ring (in search of affordable housing).

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