Redefining Urban and Suburban America

Redefining Urban and Suburban America: Evidence from Census 2000

Alan Berube
Bruce Katz
Robert E. Lang
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 348
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  • Book Info
    Redefining Urban and Suburban America
    Book Description:

    Results from Census 2000 continue to reveal the striking changes taking place in the nation's cities and suburbs during the 1990s. Thanks to a decade of strong economic growth, concentrated poverty in inner cities declined dramatically, homeownership rose among young minority households, and workers from abroad settled in growing metropolitan areas that had experienced little immigration to date. This second volume in the Redefining Urban and Suburban America series makes clear, however, that regional differences add texture to these broader social and economic trends. Using data from the Census "long form," the contributors to this book probe migration, income and poverty, and housing trends in the nation's largest cities and metropolitan areas. Economically, the fast-growing Sunbelt and the Midwest performed well in the 1990s, enjoying declining poverty rates, rising homeownership, and the evolution of a solid middle-class population. Cities like San Antonio, Chicago, Houston, and Columbus saw stunning declines in high-poverty neighborhoods. The story was more mixed in the coastal areas of the Northeast and West, where poverty rates rose in cities such as Boston, New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. On net, their metro areas lost residents to other parts of the United States, even as they gained workers and families from abroad. This volume provides a closer look at the unprecedented social and economic changes taking place in the nation's oldest and newest communities, and explores the implications for a diverse set of policy areas, including metropolitan development patterns, immigrant incorporation, and the promotion of affordable housing and homeownership.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-9767-8
    Subjects: Political Science, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)

    Urban areas will claim nearly all of the world’s population growth during the next thirty years, according to the United Nations. It is no surprise, then, that the fortunes of cities and metropolitan areas figure prominently among the concerns of leaders across the globe. Public- and private-sector officials from Philadelphia to London to Beijing are grappling with the universal challenges of population growth or decline, poverty, housing, traffic, and their effects on metropolitan dwellers and urban form.

    The rising importance of these issues led Brookings in 2004 to establish the Metropolitan Policy Program as the institution’s fourth major program, our...

  4. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    To many, the 1990s probably seem like an innocent bygone era, with twenty-four-year-old dot-com millionaires, governments awash in surplus cash, the discovery of thegrande latte, and the nation (mostly) at peace. Beyond these historical hallmarks, however, the 1990s brought unparalleled economic and demographic change to the United States, the effects of which will be felt for many decades to come. The nation added more people—32 million—over the decade than in any other ten-year period in its history, fueled by a new wave of immigration to its shores.¹ Between April 1990, when the nation teetered on the verge...

  5. 1 Metropolitan Magnets for International and Domestic Migrants
    (pp. 13-40)

    Hundreds of thousands of people move to the United States each year seeking a better life. Millions of Americans move to new locations within the United States each year for the same reason. The respective destinations of these two groups—immigrants and domestic migrants—shape the physical landscape, public service needs, business patterns, and political culture of our nation’s metropolitan areas. For those reasons international and domestic migration trends in the late 1990s, and how they shaped metropolitan growth dynamics, are some of the most eagerly anticipated findings from U.S. Census 2000.

    In recent decades immigrants and domestic migrants headed...

  6. 2 The Rise of New Immigrant Gateways: Historical Flows, Recent Settlement Trends
    (pp. 41-86)

    The United States is in the midst of a wave of unprecedented immigration. Immigrants made up 11.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2000. During the 1990s the foreign-born population grew by 11.3 million (57.4 percent), bringing the Census 2000 count of immigrants to 31.1 million. The rapidity of this influx, coupled with its sheer size, means that American society will confront momentous social, cultural, and political change during the coming decades and generations.

    Perhaps most importantly, immigrants’ settlement patterns are shifting. Specifically, significant flows of the foreign-born are shifting from more traditional areas to places with little history of...

  7. 3 The New Great Migration: Black Americans’ Return to the South, 1965–2000
    (pp. 87-110)

    During the early part of the twentieth century black Americans left the U.S. South in large numbers. Several factors precipitated their “Great Migration” to northern cities.¹ First, the mechanization of Southern agriculture rendered many farm workers, including blacks, redundant. Second, the industrialization of the Northeast and Midwest created millions of manufacturing jobs for unskilled workers. Finally, the generally oppressive racial climate in the South acted as a “push” factor for many decades as blacks sought more tolerant communities in other regions. Even as whites migrated to the Sunbelt in large numbers at mid-century, black migration out of the South exceeded...

  8. 4 A Decade of Mixed Blessings: Urban and Suburban Poverty in Census 2000
    (pp. 111-136)

    The 1990s was a decade of unprecedented economic growth in the United States. Real GDP grew at a blistering 4.3 percent annual pace from 1992 to 2000. The unemployment rate at the time of Census 2000 was 3.9 percent, the lowest in a generation. In the late 1990s the strong economy helped move millions of individuals from welfare to work, and lifted employment and earnings among such traditionally disadvantaged groups as high school dropouts.¹

    The percentage of people living below the federal poverty line declined from 13.1 percent to 12.4 percent between 1990 and 2000. Although the trend was positive...

  9. 5 Stunning Progress, Hidden Problems: The Dramatic Decline of Concentrated Poverty in the 1990s
    (pp. 137-172)

    For many years the conditions of life in the poorest of poor neighborhoods have attracted the attention of filmmakers, journalists, and academic researchers. Each of these witnesses, in his or her own way, has provided stark evidence of the devastating effects impoverished environments can have on those unfortunate enough to dwell within them, and of how these effects spill over into society at large.

    Poverty, in government statistics, is defined by a family’s income relative to a standard meant to reflect the cost of basic necessities (the “poverty line”). This narrow conception of poverty, however, fails to capture the multiple...

  10. 6 The Trajectory of Poor Neighborhoods in Southern California, 1970–2000
    (pp. 173-194)

    Growing economic inequality remains one of this nation’s most pressing problems. After controlling for the effects of the business cycle, there is a clear, long-term trend of a “widening divide” between rich and poor.¹ Several factors have contributed to this trend, including global competition, rapid technological change, industrial restructuring, increasing returns to education, and demographic shifts in the workforce, including high levels of immigration.

    The impact of rising inequality has not affected people or places evenly. Residential and economic segregation in most metropolitan areas often results in the poor being constrained to high-poverty neighborhoods—with poverty rates greater than 20...

  11. 7 The Shape of the Curve: Household Income Distributions in U.S. Cities, 1979–99
    (pp. 195-244)

    The notion of cities as centers of the American melting pot is well rooted in our nation’s history and popular consciousness. As much as places where people of different races and ethnicities mix, cities have long been portrayed as bringing the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor together within their borders.¹

    Of course just because individuals of different means have lived in cities does not mean that they have necessarily interacted. Poor Eastern European immigrants reaching Ellis Island at the turn of the twentieth century, and blacks moving to the Northeast during the Great Migration, did not move in...

  12. 8 Homeownership and Younger Households: Progress among African Americans and Latinos
    (pp. 245-266)

    The best housing news from the 1990s is that the United States achieved the largest national gain in the homeownership rate since the 1950s, 2 percentage points, reversing the decline experienced in the 1980s. The increase was so widespread that Simmons termed it a “coast-to-coast expansion” in homeownership.¹

    Several important features of the rebound in homeownership have been documented by previous studies.² First, the bulk of the nation’s increase in homeownership rates during the 1990s reflects the simple aging of the population into life stages with higher probability of homeownership. The relative decline in number of younger households, whose age...

  13. 9 Rising Affordability Problems among Homeowners
    (pp. 267-284)

    During the 1990s the U.S. homeownership rate increased more than at any time since the 1950s. Growth in the number of homeowners was the second largest on record, exceeded only by the gain registered during the 1970s.¹ Minorities shared in this boom, supported by numerous public and private efforts to expand homeownership opportunities for historically underserved population groups.²

    Recent studies, however, have uncovered a troubling aspect of the 1990s homeownership boom: rapid growth in the number of homeowners facing severe affordability problems. According to a recent study by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (2003), the total number of...

  14. 10 The Sheltered Homeless in Metropolitan Neighborhoods: Evidence from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses
    (pp. 285-310)

    Americans expect a lot from their neighborhoods. Many believe that the ideal neighborhood is primarily if not exclusively residential in nature, a safe haven of single-family homes whose owner-occupants keep up their property, get along well together, and want the best for their children. According to this belief, any encroachment of commercial or nonresidential land uses into an area should be resisted, given its potential for undermining the presumed beneficial aspects of neighborhood context. Even quasi-residential facilities such as group homes and halfway houses—no matter how merciful in purpose—are regarded with suspicion by residents. Human service administrators nevertheless...

  15. 11 Patterns and Trends in Overcrowded Housing: Results from Census 2000
    (pp. 311-330)

    Overcrowded tenements in the immigrant neighborhoods of large U.S. cities helped galvanize the housing reform movement of the early twentieth century. As immigration subsided, families shrank, and home building boomed during the postwar period, however, residential overcrowding declined dramatically. Sharp drops in household densities were accompanied by waning interest in overcrowding as a research topic and housing policy issue.

    The decline in overcrowding came to an abrupt end during the 1980s, when both the number and proportion of overcrowded households increased for the first time in four decades. Recently released data from Census 2000 indicate that overcrowding expanded by an...

  16. Contributors
    (pp. 331-332)
  17. Index
    (pp. 333-348)
  18. Back Matter
    (pp. 349-350)