Are We Unraveling?

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Is the fabric of society unraveling? That’s been a fear expressed throughout our history, and sometimes it has even been true (the Civil War comes to mind ). But our divisions have always healed over time. I would go so far as to say that nothing defines America more than its ability to absorb minority views, cultures, practices and peoples (a two-way street of acculturation by which outsiders are absorbed while the mainstream expands).   read more »

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

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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 »

Queens, New York: Mr Bornstein's Neighborhood

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Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And most people who drive through blocks of industrial urban neighborhoods in Queens County, New York find them ugly, depressing, and sometimes dangerous. I spend a great deal of time in these kinds of neighborhoods, and to the shock and surprise of many - especially my close friends and family - I find them just as interesting and usually more exotic than the overly-planned communities touting the new urbanism popping up all over the country.  read more »

Japan’s 2010 Census: Moving to Tokyo

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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 »

Manufacturing Stages A Comeback

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This year’s survey of the best cities for jobs contains one particularly promising piece of news: the revival of the country’s long distressed industrial sector and those regions most dependent on it. Manufacturing has grown consistently over the past 21 months, and now, for the first time in years, according to data mined by Pepperdine University’s Michael Shires, manufacturing regions are beginning to move up on our list of best cities for jobs.  read more »

The New Geography of Population Loss and Gain

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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 »

Why Outsiders Have Wound Up Running So Much of L.A.

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When I was young and my brother was a little older, we would be in bed before dark on mid-summer evenings. (The times were different then.) We would lay in our separate beds, but only an arm’s length apart as shadows lengthened up the far wall of our room, until the dial of the Zenith radio on top of the dresser was the only light left. The Dodgers’ game would be on. Vin Scully was calling the plays.  read more »

Skepticism Greets US DOT's Draft Transportation Bill

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An undated--- and possibly still unvetted by OMB---draft of US DOT’s legislative proposal for surface transportation reauthorization, the "Transportation Opportunities Act," has been making the rounds in Washington for the past week. Its publication, however, has been largely ignored by the inside-the-Beltway transportation community. What would ordinarily be an eagerly awaited event and an occasion to compliment the Department , has passed virtually unnoticed.  read more »

The Dispersionist Manifesto

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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 »

Stories from the 2010 Census: Race and Ethnic Change in Washington State

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The city of Seattle is an exceptional place. The 2010 census figures on race, ethnicity and age confirm this reputation. The main story from the census findings is the continued gentrification of Seattle, with displacement of minorities and the less affluent out of the center of the city, especially to south King county and Pierce county. The city core is becoming whiter, while the edges and suburbs, north and east as well as south are becoming far more diverse.  read more »