Redefining Urban and Suburban America

Redefining Urban and Suburban America: Evidence from Census 2000

Alan Berube
Bruce Katz
Robert E. Lang
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 275
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Redefining Urban and Suburban America
    Book Description:

    Results from Census 2000 have confirmed that American cities and metropolitan areas lie at the heart of the nation's most pronounced demographic and economic changes. The third volume in the Redefining Urban and Suburban America series describes anew the changing shape of metropolitan American and the consequences for policies in areas such as employment, public services, and urban revitalization. The continued decentralization of population and economic activity in most metropolitan areas has transformed once-suburban places into new engines of metropolitan growth. At the same time, some traditional central cities have enjoyed a population renaissance, thanks to a recent book in "living" downtowns. The contributors to this book probe the rise of these new growth centers and their impacts on the metropolitan landscape, including how recent patterns have affected the government's own methods for reporting information on urban, suburban, and rural areas. Volume 3 also provides a closer look at the social and economic impacts of growth patterns in cities and suburbs. Contributors examine how suburbanization has affected access to employment for minorities and lower-income workers, how housing development trends have fueled population declines in some central cities, and how these patterns are shifting the economic balance between older and newer suburbs. Contributors include Thomas Bier (Cleveland State University), Peter Dreier (Occidental College), William Frey (Brookings), Robert Lang (Virginia Tech), Steven Raphael (University of California, Berkeley), Audrey Singer (Brookings), Michael Stoll (University of California, Los Angeles), Todd Swanstrom (St. Louis University), and Jill Wilson (Brookings).

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-0885-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-8)

    Much recent work in the social science arena has examined the growing “placelessness” of modern American society. Experts point to, variously, the Internet, satellite television, globalization of the consumer economy, the increase in long-distance moves, and the decline in measures of “social capital” as evidence that Americans are less attached than ever before to the particular places in which they live.¹

    True enough, few Americans today buy their groceries at the corner market. But the places in which people live—which are defined by both political and social boundaries—still reflect a lot about their inhabitants. In turn, those communities...

  4. 1 Demographic Change in Medium-Sized Cities
    (pp. 9-28)

    The 1990s brought dramatic changes to the metropolitan landscape. For a number of central cities in the United States, the strong economy, coupled with high levels of immigration, led to a resurgence in population and stable fiscal conditions. Other cities, however, were unable to stem the flow of jobs and residents to the suburbs. Research by the Brookings Institution on the 100 largest cities revealed a significant increase in the number of Hispanics living in center cities, a concomitant loss of white residents, and a dominant pattern of decentralization.¹

    A more complete understanding of urban growth dynamics during the 1990s...

  5. 2 Who Lives Downtown?
    (pp. 29-60)

    Over the past few decades, public and private officials have tried to reinvent their downtowns by using a variety of tactics. One of the most popular—and arguably most successful—strategies of recent years has been downtown residential development. The call to create vibrant downtowns that maintain their urban appeal twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, has become a mantra for those working to inject life into struggling main streets and business districts.

    Many downtowns boast a large number of assets that support residential uses. Architecturally interesting buildings, waterfront property, a rich cultural heritage, a bustling entertainment sector,...

  6. 3 Growth Counties: Home to America’s New Suburban Metropolis
    (pp. 61-82)

    When asked “Why do you rob banks?” famed bank robber Willy Sutton responded, “Because that’s where the money is.” In that spirit, this chapter examines the development of “growth counties,” because that’s where the growth is. During the second half of the twentieth century, the decentralization of economic and residential life, not the revival of core cities and central downtowns, remained the dominant growth pattern in the United States. Suburbs across the country have boomed, as has the Sun Belt, which includes much of the South and West. Most of this growth is occurring in large metropolitan areas, especially in...

  7. 4 Are the Boomburbs Still Booming?
    (pp. 83-92)

    Previous research using Census 2000 data documented the rise of a new type of large, fast-growing suburb known as the “boomburb.”¹ In recent years, many of the top boomburbs have outgrown their traditional and better-known big-city peers.

    This chapter updates boomburb growth trends using recently released 2000–03 population estimates. The analysis reveals that most boomburbs continue to top the list of the nation’s fastest-growing ities. As a group, boomburbs now have a total population exceeding that of the Chicago metropolitan area, the nation’s third-largest region after New York and Los Angeles. Several individual boomburbs continue to ascend to the...

  8. 5 Living Together: A New Look at Racial and Ethnic Integration in Metropolitan Neighborhoods, 1990–2000
    (pp. 93-118)

    Racial integration has served as a benchmark for social progress since racial equality entered the social policy agenda. The degree to which society accepts racial and ethnic diversity depends on the degree to which people of different races and ethnic groups live in harmony over time. Racial segregation signifies a host of inequalities within urban settings, and many argue that integration promotes greater economic and social equity, increased stability (through the preservation of housing stock and community values), and greater social harmony.¹

    Census 2000 confirms that, overall, the United States is becoming a more racially and ethnically diverse society. The...

  9. 6 Modest Progress: The Narrowing Spatial Mismatch between Blacks and Jobs in the 1990s
    (pp. 119-142)

    During the latter half of the twentieth century, changes in the location of employment opportunities within metropolitan areas increased the physical distance between predominantly black residential areas and important employment centers.¹ Although black residential locations have remained fairly centralized and concentrated in older urban neighborhoods, employment has continuously decentralized toward suburbs and exurbs. Many social scientists argue that this “spatial mismatch” between black residential locations and employment opportunities at least partly explains the stubbornly inferior labor market outcomes experienced by African Americans.² The difficulties of reverse commuting in many metropolitan areas, coupled with the fact that a high proportion of...

  10. 7 Pulling Apart: Economic Segregation in Suburbs and Central Cities in Major Metropolitan Areas, 1980–2000
    (pp. 143-166)

    This chapter provides a Census 2000 examination of municipal economic segregation. Though not studied nearly as much as racial segregation, economic segregation—the degree to which different economic classes live spatially apart from one another—has become an important focus of research in the past twenty years.

    Ever since the publication of William Julius Wilson’sThe Truly Disadvantaged(1987), researchers have examined the degree to which poor people have become concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods—in other words, segregated from the rest of society. For the period 1970–1990, researchers found significant increases in concentrated poverty. Research based on 2000 data...

  11. 8 Vacating the City: An Analysis of New Home Construction and Household Growth
    (pp. 167-190)

    The 1990s were an unusual decade in the recent history of U.S. cities. As the country experienced the greatest economic expansion in its history, a number of major central cities, particularly in the Midwest and Northeast, had their smallest population loss since the 1960s. A few, including Chicago and Minneapolis, actually gained residents.¹ The price of housing on the East and West coasts skyrocketed, whereas in the Midwest it elevated moderately. And concentrated urban poverty lessened in many big cities but grew in suburbs.²

    The high price of housing on the coasts, population growth in the large metropolitan areas of...

  12. 9 Tracking American Trends into the Twenty-First Century: A Field Guide to the New Metropolitan and Micropolitan Definitions
    (pp. 191-234)

    The term “metropolitan area” is one of the few statistical terms that show up in common conversation. A metropolitan area is not a political jurisdiction with a mayor or police department, but an economically and socially linked collection of large and small communities. Residing in a metropolitan area provides identification with an understood broader community, often eliciting civic pride promoted by local chambers of commerce and economic development commissions. Regional newspapers, sports teams, and cultural institutions all serve to reaffirm the existence of the metropolitan area. Moreover, the metropolitan designation of an area confers on it something of an urbane...

  13. 10 Micropolitan America: A Brand New Geography
    (pp. 235-258)

    “Micropolitan areas” represent a new category of places introduced by the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in June 2003.¹ As the prefix “micro” implies, these places are generally (but not always) less populous than metropolitan areas. In particular, micropolitan principal cities are smaller than metropolitan cores; whereas the former range from 10,000 to 50,000 people, the latter must exceed 50,000 residents.² Because the concept is so recent, there is no significant literature on micropolitan areas. This chapter establishes baseline data on the size, growth rate, and location of micropolitan areas.

    Micropolitan areas can be populous regions without big...

  14. Contributors
    (pp. 259-260)
  15. Index
    (pp. 261-276)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 277-279)