Demographics

Geography, Class, and Red and Blue Voting

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Consider the following two apparently contradictory sets of statistics:

From the Republican convention and much of the media, you’d get the impression that class voting has turned upside down—that the Democrats are the party of the “elite” and the Republicans the new friends of the “working class”.  read more »

America is More Small Town than We Think

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America has become an overwhelmingly metropolitan nation. According to the 2000 census, more than 80 percent of the nation’s population resided in one of the 350 combined metropolitan statistical areas. It is not surprising, therefore, that “small town” America may be considered as becoming a burdensome anachronism.

Nothing could be further from the truth. America is more “small town” than we often think, particularly in how we govern ourselves.  read more »

Rural America could bring boon to Dems

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

Perhaps no geography in America is as misunderstood as small towns and rural areas. Home to no more than one in five Americans, these areas barely register with the national media except for occasional reports about the towns’ general decrepitude, cultural backwardness and inexorable decline.

Yet in reality this part of America is far more diverse, and in many areas infinitely more vital, than the big-city-dominated media suspects. In fact, there are many demographic and economic dynamics that make this part of America far more competitive this year than in the recent past.  read more »

Keeping Kids Downtown - A Philadelphia Approach

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As children return to classes in Philadelphia this week, more than half of the kindergarteners attending three downtown public elementary schools will come from their immediate middle-income neighborhoods. Three private schools that also serve this area, drawing over 70 percent of their enrollment from downtown families, are bursting at the seams. Having doubled and tripled pre-school programs over the last half decade, each is now physically expanding to accommodate the 11,200 children, born to downtown parents between 2000 and 2005.  read more »

Cities, Children and the Future

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

“Suburbs,” the great urbanist Jane Jacobs once wrote, “must be a difficult place to raise children.” Yet, as one historian notes, had Jacobs turned as much attention to suburbs as she did to her beloved Greenwich Village, she would have discovered that suburbs possessed their own considerable appeal, particularly for those with children.

Although some still hold onto the idea that suburbs are bad places to raise children, in virtually every region of the country, families with children are far more likely to live in suburbs than in cities.  read more »

New Urbanist Cities, Class and Children

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The United States has experienced a revolutionary change in social structure over the last 25 years, and this in turn has led to a significant change in settlement, especially the geography of many metropolitan areas.

At the risk of over-generalization, our society has shifted from a structure based on economic class to one based more on education and social values.  read more »

Understanding Phoenix: Not as Sprawled as You Think

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Phoenix may be one of the nation’s most misunderstood urban areas. The conventional wisdom is that Phoenix is one of the most suburbanized (or if the pejorative is preferred, “sprawling”) urban areas in the United States. Not so. According to 2000 U.S. Census data, Phoenix ranked number 10 in population density out of the 36 urban areas with more than one million in population.  read more »

The Phoenix Lament (with apologies to J. K. Rowling)

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Fifty years ago, Phoenix was Tiny Town in the Desert, smaller than Oshkosh or Santa Fe today. Now, it is larger than Philadelphia and the metro area has the bulk of Arizona’s population. That does not mean it gets any respect; on the contrary, it is, to many, a joke, with all of Los Angeles’ traffic and smog but without the ocean, the celebrities or the Lakers.  read more »

Phoenix: Is John McCain’s Hometown Down for the Count?

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By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

Much has been said about the rootlessness of our two Presidential aspirants, but both men have spent their political lifetimes representing real places and specific constituencies. Newgeography.com has already looked into the realities shaping Senator Barack Obama’s adopted hometown of Chicago. Now we turn to the city that has most shaped Senator John McCain’s career: Phoenix.  read more »

A Generation Rises with Obama

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On his way to Denver, Barack Obama has been trying to mainstream his campaign. The selection of Sen. Joe Biden as his running mate was intended to be a steadying force as the historic nature of his campaign as a candidate of change remains unsettling for some. But so much has been said about his status as a candidate of racial change, that his status as a candidate of generational change has been little noticed. The torch, as JFK might say, is passing to a new generation.

Obama is the first Gen X Presidential candidate — for better and for worse.  read more »