The New Urban Demographics

The familiar distinctions between central cities and suburbs are being complicated by new demographic trends which will have important effects on urban America.

Read Time: 1 minute

July 16, 2000, 7:30 AM PDT

By Chris Steins @urbaninsight


America's urban landscape is changing. The familiar distinctions between central cities and suburbs and between the growing Sunbelt and the more stagnant Frostbelt parts of the country are being complicated by new demographic trends, two in particular. The first trend is the sharp rise in immigration to the United States. Each year about one million people, predominantly Latin American and Asian in origin, arrive in the United States, most settling in urban areas. The second trend involves the baby-boomers. This large cohort of 76 million people—often termed "the pig in the python"—is now aging toward the tail of that python. Most boomers will not move but "age in place"—in the suburbs rather than in the city. Both these trends will have important effects on urban America.William H. Frey is a senior fellow at the Milken Institute in Santa Monica, California. He is also professor at the Center for Social and Demographic Analysis, State University of New York at Albany; and research scientist at the Population Studies Center, University of Michigan.

Thanks to Chris Steins

Thursday, July 13, 2000 in The Brookings Institution

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