Can the Winnipeg Model Save Detroit?


Detroit, not only in the US but across the globe, has become the poster child for urban decay.  The city lost 25% of its population between 2000-2010, and over half its population since 1950.  Over 90,000 houses stand empty, and many neighborhoods have been completely abandoned.   read more »

Fifty Years of Population Change in the US: 1960-2010


A new census leads us to ask how population has changed, but usually discussion is focused on changes since the last census. But even more interesting is to appreciate the vaster changes over a greater sweep of time, for example: the fifty years since 1960, when the United States had 179 million people, toward the end of the post-war Baby Boom.  read more »

Japan’s 2010 Census: Moving to Tokyo


For years, demographers have been predicting that the population of Japan would begin to decline. The  census of Japan, conducted every five years, however, still continues to show slight population growth, with 288,000 people having been added between 2005 and 2010. This growth was so small that the nation of Japan added fewer people than seven US metropolitan areas (Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Washington, Atlanta, Riverside-San Bernardino, Phoenix and Raleigh) and less than the Toronto metropolitan area over the same period of time.  read more »

The New Geography of Population Loss and Gain


Dramatic shifts in population growth across the United States in the last decade should surprise no one. Some patterns are continuing trends of earlier decades, but other patterns show substantial change.  I show these changes in three ways, first a conventional choropleth map coloring counties by broad classes from high losses to moderate and high percent gain, second a map in which absolute gains and losses are depicted by proportional symbols, with colors showing the rate of change, and third, a look a counties that experienced either extreme loss and gain.   read more »

The Dispersionist Manifesto


We live in an era of the heady drumbeat of urban triumphalism. In a world that is now, by some measures, predominately urban, observers like historian Peter Hall envision a “coming golden age” of great cities. It is time to look at such claims more closely, replacing celebratory urban legends with careful analysis. Although the percentage of people living in cities is certain to grow, much of this growth will be in smaller cities, suburbs and towns.  read more »

China: Urbanizing and Moving East: 2010 Census


The National Bureau of Statistics of China has just released the first results of the 2010 census. The new figures portray a radically reduced population growth rate, rapid urbanization and an unprecedented domination of population growth by the East Coast.  read more »

The Best Cities for Jobs 2011


These may be far from the best of times, but they are no longer the worst. Last year’s annual “Best Cities for Jobs” list was by far the most dismal since we began compiling our rankings almost five years ago. Between 2009 and 2010, only 13 of 397 metropolitan areas experienced any growth at all. For this year’s list, which measured job growth in the period between January 2010 and January 2011, most of the best-performing areas experienced actual employment increases — even if they were modest.  read more »

How China’s Megacities Have Avoided Problems of Other Developing Cities


Urbanist media can’t seem to get enough of the megacity these days. Much of the commentary surrounding this topic is disconcertingly celebratory about these leviathans despite such phenomena as overcrowding, high levels of congestion and sprawling slums.  read more »

Divorce and Demographics by State


While everyone seems to know someone who has been divorced, rates can vary widely by state.  Why?  Do high divorce states have anything in common?  We took a look at some visualizations of state divorce rates against a few other demographic characteristics.

The latest Census data offers up some observations of how divorce varies regionally. The first graph shows 2008/2009 divorce rate against 2009 bachelor’s degree educational attainment.   We average two years of Census divorce rate data to help even out the variance caused by small sample sizes.  read more »


Rethinking Urban Dynamics: Lessons from the Census


Much has been made of the vaunted “back to the city” movement by “the young and restless,” young professionals, the creative class, empty nesters and others were voting with their feet in favor of cities over suburbs.  Although there were bright spots, the Census 2010 results show that the trend was very overblown, affecting mostly downtown and near downtown areas, while outlying ones bled population.  One culprit for this discrepancy seems to be that the intra-census estimates supplied by the Census Bureau were inflated – in some cases very inflated.  read more »