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U.S. urban decline and growth, 1950 to 2000

  • Jordan Rappaport

Following World War II, many large U.S. cities began to rapidly lose population. This urban decline climaxed during the 1970s when New York City, Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Atlanta each lost more than 10 percent of their population. The sharp declines of these and numerous other U.S. urban municipalities led many to believe that large U.S. cities were dying. ; Then, during the 1980s, New York and Boston began to grow again. In the 1990s, so did Chicago, Atlanta, and Minneapolis. The reversal of population declines by these and a few other U.S. urban municipalities has led many to believe that large U.S. cities were coming back. ; Rappaport explains why, contrary to such perceptions, recent U.S. history has not been characterized by a period of pervasive urban decline followed by a widespread urban renaissance. To be sure, a few large cities were able to successfully reverse steep population declines. But over the past 50 years, most large U.S. cities either declined continuously or else grew continuously. Such varied growth experiences resulted from a complex combination of national, regional, metropolitan area, and local factors. These included a continuing shift of population from the Northeast and Midwest to the South and West, a slowing shift of population from cities to suburbs, and the much more rapid growth of some metropolitan areas relative to others.

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Article provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in its journal Economic Review.

Volume (Year): (2003)
Issue (Month): Q III ()
Pages: 15-44

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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:2003:i:qiii:p:15-44:n:v.88no.3
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