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Population Trends as a Counterweight to Central City Decline, 1950–2000

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  • Leah Boustan

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  • Allison Shertzer

Abstract

The share of metropolitan residents living in central cities declined dramatically from 1950 to 2000. We argue that cities would have lost even further ground if not for demographic trends such as renewed immigration, delayed childbearing, and a decline in the share of households headed by veterans. We provide causal estimates of the effect of children on residential location using the birth of twins. The effect of veteran status is identified from a discontinuity in the probability of military service during and after the mass mobilization for World War II. Our results suggest that these changes in demographic composition were strong enough to bolster city population but not to fully counteract socioeconomic factors favoring suburban growth. Copyright Population Association of America 2013

Suggested Citation

  • Leah Boustan & Allison Shertzer, 2013. "Population Trends as a Counterweight to Central City Decline, 1950–2000," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 50(1), pages 125-147, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:50:y:2013:i:1:p:125-147
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0137-5
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    Cited by:

    1. Fetter, Daniel K., 2016. "The Home Front: Rent Control and the Rapid Wartime Increase in Home Ownership," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 76(04), pages 1001-1043, December.
    2. Leah Platt Boustan & Devin Bunten & Owen Hearey, 2013. "Urbanization in the United States, 1800-2000," NBER Working Papers 19041, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Duranton, Gilles & Puga, Diego, 2015. "Urban Land Use," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, Elsevier.

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