Older Cities Hold On to More People, Census Shows

Source: William H. Frey, Metropolitan Policy Program, Brookings Institution, July 10, 2008

Newly released U.S. Census Bureau population data for U.S. cities show a new twist on a well-known theme that could be good news for older cities hoping to reverse population declines of the past.

The familiar part of the report indicates that most of the nation’s fastest growing cities are located in the South and interior West. Places like McKinney, TX; North Las Vegas, NV; and Cary, NC, are registering growth rates that cities in baseball’s “American League Central” division (e.g., Detroit, Cleveland, Kansas City) can only dream about. But the new estimates also show a clear retrenchment of the old “Snowbelt to Sunbelt” population surge, a turnaround that has brought modest gains to many older and coastal cities that lost population earlier in the decade.

•Figure 1: Annual Population Changes in Big Cities with Growth Rebounds, 2000-2007
•Figure 2: Annual Population Changes in Big Cities with Growth Slowdowns, 2000-2007
•Table 1: Annual Rates of Population Change, U.S. Cities with more than 1 million Residents, 2000-2007
•Table 2: Annual Rates of Population Change for U.S. Cities with at least 250,000 Residents, by Region, 2000-2007

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