A Closer Look At Growth Data Showing An Urban Revival

On April 5, the U.S. Census Bureau released growth data from April 2010 to July 2011 showing that for the first time in 20 years, urban growth surpassed exurban growth. Yonah Freemark takes a closer look at the data for 21 metropolitan areas.

The Census findings show the dramatic differences in metropolitan population growth for the annual July 2011 period compared to the 10-year period. Freemark notes the exceptions to the urban revival:

"Of 21 metropolitan areas reviewed (chosen based on their size and presence of a central city), just five saw decreases in the population of their core counties between 2010 and 2011 (Cleveland, Baltimore, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Detroit), while two of those also saw declines for the metropolitan area as a whole (Cleveland and Detroit). Many cities that have historically had declining populations, including Philadelphia and Washington, grew quite strongly over the year-long period."

Freemark analyzes the county-level data and reports on growth rates between central city and counties within metro areas, revealing the city emphasis. For example, "Cook County (the central county for the Chicago region) took in 51.3% of the region's population growth between 2010 and 2011, while the county had declined significantly in population between 2000 and 2010."

The Census Bureau's media release, meanwhile, shows a dramatic slow-down of some sun-belt cities:

"According to the new July 1, 2011, population estimates released today, the relative growth of many of the nation's 366 metro areas in the 15-month period from April 2010 to July 2011 differed markedly from that observed between 2000 and 2010. One such example was Palm Coast, Fla., which was the fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2010, but fell to 55th place between 2010 and 2011. Similarly, Las Vegas, the third fastest-growing metro area between 2000 and 2010, fell to 151st place."

Full Story: In New Census Data, An Improved Outlook For Core Counties

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