Slow Your Applause Urbanists, Exurbs Are Growing Fastest

New analysis from the Urban Institute and researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau shows that, despite the housing bust and economic recession, exurban growth in recent years has been significantly higher than in more densely populated areas.
July 20, 2012, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Urban enthusiasts have been encouraged by recent trends that seemed to indicate American cities growing at a faster rate than suburbs. But as further inquiry, and new analysis of longer-term trends illustrate, a more nuanced picture of American population growth is emerging.

Nate Berg reports on new analysis that shows America's exurban areas - "those deconcentrated towns flung far beyond the urban core and just outside the suburban spread" - have grown at as astonishing rate. "Between 2000 and 2010, the total U.S. population grew about 10 percent, from 281 million to 309 million. Over that same time, the exurban population grew by more than 60 percent, from about 16 million to almost 26 million people, according to the analysis."

A new interactive map from the Urban Institute, based on an analysis by U.S. Census Bureau researchers Todd Gardner and Matthew Marlay, "shows how the growth rates in exurban areas have been higher – and in some cases much higher – than the growth rates in their corresponding metropolitan areas," writes Berg.

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Published on Thursday, July 19, 2012 in The Atlantic Cities
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