Sun Belt Cities Are Facing Many Changes and Challenges

Cities across this swath of the country have rapidly growing populations and economies. At the same time, Sun Belt cities are contending with a common host of urban issues that should not be overlooked.

1 minute read

August 25, 2020, 7:00 AM PDT

By Camille Fink

I-45 and I-69

Trong Nguyen / Shutterstock

"The U.S. population, like that in Charlotte, is growing, and much of the growth is in the cities of the Sun Belt. A report from the Kinder Institute for Urban Research says the country should be paying more attention to those Sun Belt cities — treating them as a specific genre that needs its own body of research," writes Mary Newsom.

The report notes that Sun Belt cities across the country, from Los Angeles to Miami, have seen both rapid population growth and demographic shifts. These metropolitan areas are also experiencing declines in housing affordability, increases in poverty levels, and the impacts of climate change. In addition, the auto-oriented development that characterizes Sun Belt metros is reflected in high pedestrian death rates and low transit ridership.

The report also highlights the lack of resources as a major challenge for these cities in addressing issues in the coming years. "In older cities, government and philanthropic institutions are go-to sources for problem-solving. But in Sun Belt cities, per-capita government spending is significantly lower, as are philanthropic resources," says Newsom.

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