City Growth Picks Up, Continues to Outpace Suburbs

New census data shows that America's cities continue to grow at a faster rate than their suburbs, sustaining the reversal of a decades-long trend.

May 23, 2013, 1:00 PM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


"The nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas — those with populations over one million — saw their city populations grow 1.12% between July 2011 and July 2012, up from 1.03% a year earlier and an average of 0.42% between 2000 and 2010, according to an analysis of Census data by demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution in Washington," writes Neil Shah. "By contrast, these cities’ suburbs grew just 0.97% last year, higher than 2011’s 0.96% but far below the average of 1.38% in the previous decade."

"Census data last year showed this migration to the suburbs stalled in 2010-2011," he notes. "A combination of fewer moves out of cities and increases in population from births and immigration pushed up the overall growth rate of city populations beyond that of suburbs — something that hadn’t happened since the 1920s, by some measures. Now the trend appears to be getting entrenched."

“We would have expected this to change — and it hasn’t,” said Brookings’ Mr. Frey. “The question is, is this just a short-term effect, or something long-term?”

Thursday, May 23, 2013 in The Wall Street Journal

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