Graphing the Rise and Fall of Metro Populations

A mesmerizing presentation of the narrative arc of the United State’s 20 most populated metropolitan areas reveals the evolving weave of interrelationships that make up the country's urban settlements.
James Cridland / Flickr

Chris Cillizza shares a graph originally posted on that charts the population of the top 20 metro areas in the United States between 1790-2010.

Cillizza points out that even more compelling than the claims of superiority often made by cities near the top of the list are the stories of the cities who have tumbled down the rankings, like Detroit (once #4) and Baltimore (once #3). Baltimore, at least, recently saw its first increase in population in 50 years.

Another detail revealed by the graph is evidence of the country’s agrarian past. For instance, in 1790 Salem, Massachusetts, was #5 and Charleston, South Carolina, was #4.

Full Story: The 20 most populous metro areas in the United States, in 1 amazing chart


Prepare for the AICP* Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

The Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs is the only comprehensive ranking and listing of graduate urban planning programs available.
Starting at $24.95

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.

City Map Posters are in!

Available in 9 different cities.