SPECIAL REPORT: Move to Suburbs (and Beyond) Continues

MSP-suburbs.jpg

Anyone who challenges the notion that the long predicted exodus of people from the suburbs to the city has been wildly overstated is sure to generate some backlash from urban boosters. Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution contends in a New Republic column that "head counts" better reveal city trends than property trends or the massive condo bust. He points to a Brookings Institution analysis by Bill Frey, entitled "Texas Gains, Suburbs Lose in 2010 Census Review," which compares trends in major cities and suburbs, but offers not a sentence demonstrating any actual population “loss” in suburbs (his point is that their growth rates have declined).

However, Berube has a point. Head counts are the issue. The annual Bureau of the Census "head count" of domestic migration reveals that the suburban to urban core exodus is as elusive as it has ever been. Gross population totals reveal nothing with respect to movements between the suburbs and the core. There is no doubt that core city population trends have improved, and this is a good thing. However, there is not a shred of evidence that suburbanites are picking up and moving to the cores.

Domestic Migration: This is indicated by a "head count" of migration trends during the decade and during the last year. Each year, the Bureau of the Census estimates the number of people who move between counties (domestic migration) and the number of people who move into metropolitan areas from outside the nation (international migration). The data is estimated at the county (equivalent) level, which means that, except where cities are counties (such as Baltimore, San Francisco and others), individual core city data is not available. Thus, the analysis has to rely on core versus suburban counties in metropolitan areas (Note 1).

In short, the nation's urban cores continue to lose domestic migrants with a vengeance, however are doing quite well at attracting international migration. Thus, core growth is not resulting from migration from suburbs or any other part of the nation, but is driven by international migration.

The following analysis covers all but four (48) metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population as of 2009. San Diego, Las Vegas and Tucson are excluded because they include only one county, so there is only a core county and no suburban county. New Orleans is excluded due to the special circumstances of the huge population losses from Hurricane Katrina.

Generally, domestic migrants are leaving the nation's largest metropolitan areas. Between 2000 and 2009, a net 1,900,000 domestic migrants moved to areas of the nation outside the largest metropolitan areas (Table 1). Domestic migration losses occurred 24 of the 48 metropolitan areas. In the last year (2008-2009), the net domestic out-migration for all 48 regions in total was 22,000, 90% below the 2000-2008 annual rate. A somewhat smaller number of metropolitan areas, 22, experienced domestic migration losses in the last year. Most observers, including Berube, trace this diminishing loss to the recession, which has made movement in any direction more difficult over the past two years.








Table 1
Domestic Migration: Major Metropolitan Areas
2000-2009
2008-2009
Core County Classification
Metropolitan Area
Metropolitan Area
Core
Suburban
Metropolitan Area
Core
Suburban
1
New York   (1,920,745)   (1,222,290)     (698,455)       (110,278)     (77,381)    (32,897)
3
Los Angeles   (1,337,522)   (1,102,202)     (235,320)         (79,900)     (76,674)      (3,226)
2
Chicago       (547,430)      (705,403)      157,973         (40,389)     (31,114)      (9,275)
4
Dallas-Fort Worth        307,907      (262,982)      570,889           45,241       (7,494)      52,735
1
Philadelphia       (112,071)      (154,338)         42,267           (7,577)       (5,496)      (2,081)
4
Houston        242,573        (69,736)      312,309           49,662       19,002      30,660
4
Miami-West Palm Beach       (284,860)      (297,637)         12,777         (29,321)     (25,142)      (4,179)
1
Washington       (110,775)        (39,814)       (70,961)           18,189         4,454      13,735
3
Atlanta        412,832            3,243      409,589           17,479         7,579        9,900
1
Boston       (232,984)      (100,485)     (132,499)             6,813             (32)        6,845
2
Detroit       (361,632)      (306,467)       (55,165)         (45,488)     (34,794)    (10,694)
4
Phoenix        530,579        404,840      125,739           12,441         4,651        7,790
2
San Francisco-Oakland       (343,834)      (245,796)       (98,038)             7,977           (207)        8,184
4
Riverside-San Bernardino        457,430        375,055         82,375               (616)       13,174    (13,790)
3
Seattle           42,424        (27,407)         69,831           17,035       11,053        5,982
2
Minneapolis-St. Paul         (22,865)      (138,395)      115,530           (2,503)       (1,989)          (514)
1
St. Louis         (42,151)        (62,990)         20,839           (4,532)       (3,197)      (1,335)
4
Tampa-St. Petersburg        254,650          89,385      165,265             4,663         2,630        2,033
1
Baltimore         (35,938)        (74,328)         38,390           (3,687)       (4,883)        1,196
2
Denver           61,108        (44,839)      105,947           19,831         6,369      13,462
2
Pittsburgh         (49,438)        (57,532)           8,094             1,144            401           743
2
Portland        120,437            3,811      116,626           16,320         7,053        9,267
2
Cincinnati         (18,313)        (87,976)         69,663               (384)       (2,833)        2,449
4
Sacramento        135,038          32,369      102,669             4,733       (1,185)        5,918
2
Cleveland       (133,679)      (151,448)         17,769         (10,191)     (10,875)           684
4
Orlando        218,108          46,341      171,767           (4,279)       (6,275)        1,996
4
San Antonio        175,552          96,856         78,696           18,984       10,797        8,187
3
Kansas City           30,181        (33,910)         64,091             3,929           (417)        4,346
4
San Jose       (233,133)      (226,545)         (6,588)           (5,361)       (4,829)          (532)
3
Columbus           32,087        (36,024)         68,111             5,018         1,907        3,111
4
Charlotte        243,399        104,402      138,997           19,211         8,299      10,912
3
Indianapolis           70,271        (53,039)      123,310             7,034       (1,209)        8,243
4
Austin        224,227          52,842      171,385           25,654       10,484      15,170
2
Norfolk-Virginia Beach         (19,172)        (19,391)              219           (8,052)       (3,559)      (4,493)
2
Providence         (50,151)        (38,129)       (12,022)           (6,736)       (4,939)      (1,797)
3
Nashville        120,684        (20,101)      140,785           10,826            128      10,698
2
Milwaukee         (72,668)        (89,476)         16,808           (2,336)       (3,585)        1,249
4
Jacksonville        125,881          17,866      108,015             1,758       (3,415)        5,173
4
Memphis           (8,834)        (61,325)         52,491           (5,276)       (7,867)        2,591
3
Louisville           33,700           (7,692)         41,392             2,122            262        1,860
2
Richmond           74,650           (4,839)         79,489             2,751                 3        2,748
3
Oklahoma City           41,523           (8,164)         49,687             8,798         3,236        5,562
3
Hartford           (9,385)        (22,089)         12,704           (1,847)       (1,949)           102
3
Birmingham           26,420        (26,550)         52,970             2,418       (1,424)        3,842
3
Salt Lake City         (32,760)        (43,779)         11,019               (164)           (911)           747
4
Raleigh        190,438        150,583         39,855           20,095       16,070        4,025
2
Buffalo         (53,191)        (47,780)         (5,411)           (1,711)       (1,806)              95
2
Rochester         (42,163)        (35,354)         (6,809)           (1,937)       (1,224)          (713)
Total   (1,903,595)   (4,548,659)   2,645,064         (22,439)   (199,153)   176,714
Major metropolitan areas: Population over 1,000,000 in 2009
Core county classifications: See Table 2



The core counties lost domestic migrants, often at very high rates. Between 2000 and 2009, more than 4,500,000 people moved out of the core counties. This is more people than live in the cities of Los Angeles and Washington, DC combined. The suburban counties did substantially better gaining more than 2,600,000 domestic migrants (nearly as many people as live in the city of Chicago), but not enough to negate the core losses. Over the past year, the core counties lost 200,000 domestic migrants, an annual rate approximately two-thirds less than the rate from 2000 to 2008. Suburban counties gained 175,000, a more than 40% reduction from the 2000-2008 annual rate. All of these rate changes are consistent with expectations in a recession, as fewer people move.

If anything, the trends of the past decade indicate a further dispersal of America's metropolitan population, with an additional 200,000 domestic migrants moving to the exurban counties adjacent to and beyond the major metropolitan areas (Note 2). Reflecting the effects of the recession, exurban areas lost 4,000 domestic migrants in the last year. This one year loss rate is less than 1/10th of the core county domestic migration loss rate over the same period. Another nearly 1.7 million domestic migrants left the major metropolitan areas and their exurbs altogether, moving to smaller metropolitan areas, smaller urban areas and rural areas.

Between 2000 and 2008, 36 cores experienced domestic migration losses, compared to 10 suburban areas. The cores did better in the last year, with 29 losing domestic migrants, while 13 suburban areas lost domestic migrants. Further, more people moved into (or fewer moved out of) the suburbs from other parts of the country than to the cores in 42 of the 48 metropolitan areas between 2000 and 2009 and in 2008-2009.

Moreover, not all urban cores are the same. Some, including most of the fast growing areas, are far more suburban than others. This is illustrated by a classification of core counties (Table 2) based upon the share of owner occupant housing built after 1949 (For for statistical purposes the beginning of automobile oriented suburbanization was with the census of 1950).


Table 2
Core County Classifications (Extent of Suburbanization)
Core County Classification
Share of Owner-Occupied Houses Built After 1949
  Dominant Urban Cores
Less than 50%
  Moderately Suburban
50% = <75%
  Substantially Suburban
70% = <85%
  Predominantly Suburban
85% & Over
Data from 2000 US Census



For example, in the core counties of the St. Louis and Boston metropolitan areas, there is little suburbanization, with more than 70% of houses having been built before 1950. Their growth truly reflects the attractiveness of traditional, relatively dense urban living. On the other hand, in the core county of the Austin metropolitan area, less than 10% of the houses were built before 1950, while in Phoenix, the figure is 3%. In these and other core counties that encompass large suburban areas, the vast majority of “urban” growth follows a highly suburbanized, auto-oriented model.

The domestic migration results by core county classification are as follows:

  • Dominant Urban Core Central Counties (less than 50% of the housing stock built after 1949) lost 1.650 million domestic migrants, or 14.0% of their 2000 population. In the last year, the loss was 87,000.
  • Moderately Suburban Core Central Counties (50% to 69% of the housing stock built after 1949) lost 1.970 million domestic migrants, or 10.0% of their 2000 population. In the last year, the loss was 83,000.
  • Substantially Suburban Core Central Counties (70% to 84% of the housing stock built after 1949) lost 1.380 million domestic migrants, or 7.2% of their 2000 population. In the last year, the loss was 58,000.
  • Predominantly Suburban Core Central Counties (85% and more of the housing stock built after 1949) gained 450 thousand domestic migrants, or 2.0% of their 2000 population. In the last year, the gain was 29,000.

By no stretch of the imagination, then, can it be validly claimed that the overall trend is people moving from the suburbs to the core. The evidence suggests that the more urban the core county, the greater are the domestic migration losses.


International Migration: The real story with respect to core growth is international migration. The 48 metropolitan areas gained 6.4 million international migrants from 2000 to 2009 and 620,000 in 2008-2009. International migration, also impacted by recession, dropped by nearly a 15% drop from the 2000-2008 annual rate (Table 3).







Table 3
International Migration: Major Metropolitan Areas
2000-2009
2008-2009
Core County Classification
Metropolitan Area
Metropolitan Area
Core
Suburban
Metropolitan Area
Core
Suburban
1
New York     1,075,016      622,538      452,478        100,669     57,674      42,995
3
Los Angeles        803,614      628,303      175,311           75,062     58,557      16,505
2
Chicago        363,134      265,156         97,978           33,363     24,236        9,127
4
Dallas-Fort Worth        323,941      203,732      120,209           31,571     19,785      11,786
1
Philadelphia        122,733         50,761         71,972           12,944        5,560        7,384
4
Houston        289,648      252,098         37,550           27,996     24,371        3,625
4
Miami-West Palm Beach        506,423      318,888      187,535           51,548     32,380      19,168
1
Washington        310,222         23,112      287,110           31,904        2,096      29,808
3
Atlanta        207,238         42,082      165,156           20,288        4,093      16,195
1
Boston        191,014         64,359      126,655           19,250        6,522      12,728
2
Detroit           93,625         44,177         49,448             8,723        4,132        4,591
4
Phoenix        214,067      209,326           4,741           21,833     21,364           469
2
San Francisco-Oakland        257,318      161,324         95,994           24,376     15,373        9,003
4
Riverside-San Bernardino           90,652         46,829         43,823             8,464        4,313        4,151
3
Seattle        126,973         98,983         27,990           12,919        9,971        2,948
2
Minneapolis-St. Paul           84,440         69,262         15,178             8,234        6,756        1,478
1
St. Louis           29,782         11,794         17,988             2,928        1,112        1,816
4
Tampa-St. Petersburg           74,173         42,568         31,605             8,045        4,762        3,283
1
Baltimore           43,949         10,852         33,097             4,604        1,125        3,479
2
Denver           93,916         45,338         48,578             8,738        4,251        4,487
2
Pittsburgh           19,225         16,326           2,899             1,901        1,596           305
2
Portland           70,901         28,755         42,146             6,680        2,677        4,003
2
Cincinnati           22,364         12,754           9,610             2,245        1,260           985
4
Sacramento           64,275         47,169         17,106             6,056        4,420        1,636
2
Cleveland           28,002         20,168           7,834             2,826        1,987           839
4
Orlando           95,500         61,171         34,329           11,720        7,381        4,339
4
San Antonio           31,595         28,157           3,438             3,303        2,940           363
3
Kansas City           34,339         12,613         21,726             3,404        1,262        2,142
4
San Jose        170,452      168,009           2,443           16,347     16,116           231
3
Columbus           39,755         38,261           1,494             4,063        3,915           148
4
Charlotte           48,176         34,522         13,654             4,678        3,332        1,346
3
Indianapolis           27,676         22,058           5,618             2,809        2,239           570
4
Austin           65,958         56,828           9,130             6,406        5,516           890
2
Norfolk-Virginia Beach                421         (1,546)           1,967                867             81           786
2
Providence           34,926         25,547           9,379             3,753        2,741        1,012
3
Nashville           36,570         26,208         10,362             3,850        2,760        1,090
2
Milwaukee           26,814         22,612           4,202             2,706        2,292           414
4
Jacksonville           15,066         12,046           3,020             1,760        1,397           363
4
Memphis           19,845         17,801           2,044             2,093        1,874           219
3
Louisville           16,437         12,778           3,659             1,685        1,291           394
2
Richmond           17,061           4,161         12,900             1,805           440        1,365
3
Oklahoma City           23,717         18,698           5,019             2,394        1,878           516
3
Hartford           30,266         25,871           4,395             3,230        2,784           446
3
Birmingham           14,485         10,644           3,841             1,557        1,151           406
3
Salt Lake City           41,216         39,416           1,800             3,855        3,684           171
4
Raleigh           36,923         32,141           4,782             3,560        3,103           457
2
Buffalo             9,671           8,387           1,284                940           814           126
2
Rochester           12,796         11,657           1,139             1,243        1,123           120
Total     6,356,310   4,024,694   2,331,616        621,195   390,487   230,708
Major metropolitan areas: Population over 1,000,000 in 2009
Core county classifications: See Table 2



The core counties gained 4.0 million net international migrants between 2000 and 2009. The international migration gains in the dominant urban and moderately suburban core counties were not sufficient to compensate for the domestic migration losses (Figure 3). Surprisingly, the strongest gain in international migration from 2000 to 2009 was not in the more urban core counties, but rather was in the predominantly suburban core counties, at a 6.8% rate compared to 2000 populations.

In 2008-2009, the core county gain was 390,000, approximately 15% below the 2000-2008 annual rate (Figure 4). The suburban counties gained international migrants, though fewer than the cores, adding a net 2.3 million between 2000 and 2009. Between 2008 and 2009, the suburbs added a net 230,000 international migrants, a 12% decline from the 2000-2008 annual rate.

This of course measures only initial international migration. Over time many immigrants likely will head for the suburbs, which now are home to a majority. Core cities may be playing more of a “revolving door" role where they take in immigrants (and young people) for several years, then lose them, but replace the loss with newcomers.

The Exodus: Elusive as Ever: The much ballyhooed suburban hegira has not begun, despite it having been announced repeatedly (Table 4). There is no doubt that the cores are doing better than in recent decades, particularly since the deep recession began. But the relative better urban performance may have more to do with stagnation than anything endlessly alluring about inner city life.







Table 4
Domestic, International & Total Migration: Major Metropolitan Areas
PERSONS
Net Domestic Migration: 2000-2009
Net Domestic Migration: 2008-2009
Net International Migration: 2000-2009
Net International Migration: 2008-2009
Net Total Migration: 2000-2009
Net Total Migration: 2008-2009
Core Counties (Share of Post-1949 Housing)   (4,548,659)     (199,153)      4,024,694         390,487        (523,965)     191,334
  Dominant Urban Core (Less than 50%)  (1,654,245)      (86,535)        783,416          74,089       (870,829)     (12,446)
  Moderately Suburban (50%-69%  (1,969,014)      (83,099)        734,078          69,759    (1,234,936)     (13,340)
  Substantially Suburban (70%-84%)  (1,377,714)      (58,419)        975,915          93,585       (401,799)       35,166
  Predominantly Suburban (85% & Over)       452,314        28,900     1,531,285        153,054     1,983,599    181,954
Suburban Counties     2,645,064       176,714      2,331,616         230,708      4,976,680     407,422
48 Major Metropolitan Areas   (1,903,595)       (22,439)      6,356,310         621,195      4,452,715     598,756
Exurban Counties        198,294          (4,053)         364,498           36,740          562,792        32,687
48 Metropolitan Areas & All Exurban Counties   (1,705,301)       (26,492)      6,720,808         657,935      5,015,507     631,443
4 Excluded Metropolitan Areas          19,958         14,553         225,767           23,400          245,725        37,953
All (52) Major Metropolitan Areas & Exurban Counties   (1,685,343)       (11,939)      6,946,575         681,335      5,261,232     669,396
Smaller Metropolitan & Rural     1,685,343         11,939      1,678,369         173,570      3,363,712     185,509
United States 0 0      8,624,944         854,905      8,624,944     854,905
Major metropolitan areas: Population over 1,000,000 in 2009
Excluded metropolitan areas: San Diego, Las Vegas & Tucson (no suburban county) and New Orleans (due to Hurricane Katrina)
Exurban counties of excluded metropolitan areas are included (Las Vegas and New Orleans)



As in Europe, people are moving to the urban cores. But also, as in Europe, they are moving there from across national borders, rather than from the suburbs (Figures 3 & 4). This will surprise urbanites who cannot imagine meaningful lives in the suburbs, but will not shock the many millions more suburban residents content enough not to move. The exodus from the suburbs to the core will not have begun until more moving vans head away from the suburbs than to them. To this point, this is simply not occurring. And when the economy recovers, history suggests that the gap between suburban and core growth rates may begin expanding again.


Note: There is one core county in each metropolitan area, which is the county containing the first named city, except for in New York, where all five counties (boroughs) are included, in San Francisco-Oakland, where Alameda County (Oakland) is also included and in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where Ramsey County (St. Paul) is also included.

Note: The exurban counties are those included in combined statistical areas (as designated by the Bureau of the Census), which have major metropolitan areas as their core.

Photo: Suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul

Wendell Cox is a Visiting Professor, Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers, Paris. He was born in Los Angeles and was appointed to three terms on the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission by Mayor Tom Bradley. He is the author of "War on the Dream: How Anti-Sprawl Policy Threatens the Quality of Life.



















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There is one core county in

There is one core county in each metropolitan area, which is the county containing the first named city, katalog stron except f salon sukien ślubnych warszawa or in New York, where all five counties (boroughs) are included, in San Francisco-Oakland, where Alameda County (Oakland) katalog stron is also included and in Minneapolis-St. Paul, where Ramsey County (St. Paul) is also included.

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Confused

I've tried to read the statistics, but I am a bit confused. Hopefully you can explain.

How are these numbers adding up right?:

On table 1 of the domestic migration, Atlanta's core numbers from 2000-09 is 3,243 people. Then, going to the 2008-09 numbers, their core population goes up to 7,579 people.

Same with Portland on table 1. 2000-09, the core domestic migration is 3,811 but then the 2008-09 span it jumps to 7,053 people.

Essentially, how can the 2008-09 domestic migration span be larger than the 2000 to 2009 span when the 2000-09 encompasses '08 and '09? To me that makes no sense, unless I am misreading things here. If so, my apologies.

-Thanks

Clarification

Thank you for your inquiry.

Good question

In both cases, there was a domestic migration loss between 2000 and 2008, which was turned to a gain in 2009. For example, in Fulton County (ATL), there was a net domestic migration loss of 4336 from 2000 to 2008. The gain of 7579 in 2009 netted out to 3243 for the 2000-2009 period.

Best regards,
Wendell Cox
Demographia
www.demographia.com

St. Louis

Which county is the core county for St. Louis? You state there is one core county for each named city - did you use St. Louis City or St. Louis County? The numbers listed don't seem to be St. Louis city - and St. Louis county, as you well know, contains both urban and extremely suburban zones.

St. Louis, City of

Thank you for the question. Central county is the city of STL. All central counties (or county equivalents) are the location of the core city, except in NYC, where all 5 NYC counties are included and two places with two counties: SF & Oakland and Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The numbers shown are for the city of STL.

Best regards

Wendell Cox
Demographia
www.demographia.com