Major U.S. Metro Areas in a Transition Period, According to Census Analysis

The nation's growth slowed from 2010 and 2020, according to 2020 Census data, and demographers are still trying to figure out what population trends mean for the future of country's major metropolitan areas.

1 minute read

June 8, 2022, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Maricopa County, Arizona

f11photo / Shutterstock

William H. Frey provides insights into the growth, diversity, segregation, and aging trends in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas, as reported by the 2020 Census.

As noted by Frey, the nation’s largest metropolitan areas—with 1 million residents and more—are home to six in ten Americans, and that total is only increasing as major metro areas grew faster than smaller metro areas from 2010 to 2020.

“Moreover, the increased racial and ethnic diversity that characterized the nation is especially concentrated in major metro areas and, in particular, among their youth populations,” writes Frey.

A few other key findings from the article (which synthesizes information presented in a longer report published by Brookings Mountain West), with more detail provided in the source article below:

  • Major metro areas grew more slowly since 2010 than in several previous decades.
  • The fastest growing metro areas are in the Sun Belt
  • Cities grew faster and suburbs slower when compared to the previous decade of the 2000s.
  • All major metro areas became more racially and ethnically diverse
  • Neighborhood segregation varied by metro area
  • The youth population declined and became more diverse

“This analysis of the 2020 census makes plain that the 2010-2020 period represents a transitional decade for the nation’s major metro areas,” according to Frey. That transition “does not lead to a straightforward forecast about [metro areas’] future prospects.”

Friday, May 13, 2022 in Brookings

Aerial view of homes on beach in Maui, Hawaii

Hawaii Passes First Legislation Regulating Short-Term Rentals Statewide

The new law will give counties the power to limit number or short-term rentals and convert existing short-term rental units back into long-term residential housing.

May 13, 2024 - USA Today

Entrance to a drive-through car wash at night with green 'Enter' sign.

Ohio Towns Move to Ban New Car Washes

City officials in northeast Ohio are putting limits on how many car wash facilities can open in their towns.

May 16, 2024 - News 5 Cleveland

Rail tracks on the left, rustic log-built train station painted reddish brown with a green metal roof and concrete platform on the right, evergreen forest and bright blue sky with fluffy white clouds in the background.

More Passenger Rail Coming to Montana

Planning is underway to restore a 45-year-defunct regional passenger rail line connecting southern Montana to Billings and Amtrak’s east-west Empire Builder line from Seattle to Chicago.

May 14, 2024 - 8KPAX

Apartment For Rent Sign

HUD Proposal Would Soften ‘One-Strike’ Policy

Formerly incarcerated people are often barred from publicly subsidized housing, putting them at higher risk for homelessness and recidivism.

May 20 - Truthout

Water flowing through Glendale Narrows section of Los Angeles River in Glendale, California with a concrete bridge, power lines, and hills in background.

Los Angeles County Making Progress in Stormwater Capture

During this “super year” of storms, L.A. County has successfully captured 96 billion gallons of stormwater which is enough to meet the needs of about 2.4 million people a year.

May 20 - Los Angeles Times

Aerial Texas Hill Country at sunset, with an aerial view of a highway interchange and Interstate 35 in Austin, Texas.

The True Cost of Texas Highways

An explainer of the monetary, environmental, and social costs of exuberant road building.

May 20 - KERA News

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.