December 4, 2017


THE URBAN REVIVAL IS AN URBAN MYTH, AND THE SUBURBS ARE SURGING (Joel Kotkin and Alan Berger 12/04/2017, New Geography)

Cities are about people. Where they move suggests their reasonable aspirations.

Even when Levittown was being built 70 years ago, there has always been a portion of the population -- particularly the young, well-educated, affluent and often childless -- that craves the density and excitement of downtown (CBD) life. But this group -- heavy with members of the media -- consequently attracts vastly outsized attention.

In fact, 151 million people live in America's suburbs and exurbs, more than six times the 25 million people who live in the urban cores (defined as CBDs with employment density of 20,000+ people per square mile, or places with a population density of 7,500+ people per square mile--the urban norm before the advent of the automobile) of the 53 metropolitan areas with populations over one million.

In fact, ten of those 53 metropolitan areas (including Charlotte, Orlando, Phoenix and San Antonio) have no urban core at all by this measure, according to demographer Wendell Cox. The New York City metropolitan area is America's only one where more people live in the urban core than in the suburbs -- and it's about an even split there.

In the last decade, about 90% of U.S. population growth has been in suburbs and exurbs, with CBDs accounting for .8% of growth and the entire urban corps for roughly 10%. In this span, population growth of some of the most alluring core cities -- New York, Chicago, Philadelphia--- has declined considerably. Manhattan and Brooklyn, have both seen their rate of growth decline by more than 85% since 2011. Nationally, core counties lost over 300,000 net domestic migrants In 2016 (with immigrants replacing some some of those departees), while their suburbs gained nearly 250,000.

Three key groups -- seniors, minorities and millennials -- all prefer the suburbs.

Posted by at December 4, 2017 5:31 AM