New Geography's Most Popular Stories of 2011


As our third full calendar year at New Geography comes to a close, here’s a look at the ten most popular stories in 2011. It’s been another year of steady growth in readership and reach for the site.  Thanks for reading and happy new year.

10.  The Other China: Life on the Streets, A Photo Essay Argentinean architect and photographer Nicolas Marino offers a set of stunning photographs from the streets of Chengdu and Shanghai.

9.  Six Adults and One Child in China Emma Chen and Wendell Cox outline the rising numbers of elderly and increasing age dependency ratios in China and across the globe.  Chen and Cox outline a number of solutions, including “extending work and careers into the 70s; means tested benefits; greater incentives for having children; and measures to keep housing more affordable and family friendly,” but conclude “the ultimate issue will be maintaining economic growth.”

8.  The Texas Story is Real Aaron Renn takes a look at a number of broad-based economic measures of Texas over the past decade. He finds that “While every statistic isn't a winner for Texas, most of them are, notably on the jobs front. And if nothing else, it does not appear that Texas purchased job growth at the expense of job quality, at least not at the aggregate level.”

7.  Let’s Face it High Speed Rail is Dead and Obama’s High Speed Rail Obsession Aaron Renn and Joel Kotkin look at high speed rail in America from two angles, Renn from the practical and Kotkin from the political.  According to Renn: “In short, it’s time to stop pretending we are going to get a massive nationwide HSR rail network any time soon.  Advocates should instead focus on building a serious system in a demonstration corridor that can built credibility for American high speed rail, then built incrementally from there.” Kotkin’s piece also appeared at

6.  America’s Biggest Brain Magnets Joel Kotkin and Wendell Cox use American Community Survey data to estimate the biggest gainers of bachelor’s degree holders in U.S. regions.  The big winners:  New Orleans, Raleigh, Austin, Nashville, and Kansas City. This piece also appeared at

5.  The Next Boom Towns in the U.S. Joel Kotkin examines the U.S. regions most primed for future growth, based on my analysis of six forward-looking metrics.  “People create economies and they tend to vote with their feet when they choose to locate their families as well as their businesses.  This will prove   more decisive in shaping future growth than the hip imagery and big city-oriented PR flackery that dominate media coverage of America’s changing regions.” The piece also appeared at

4.  The Decline and Fall of the French Language Gary Girod wonders if the French language is declining in worldwide significance.

3.  Census 2010 Offers a Portrait of America in Transition Aaron Renn’s summary of this spring’s new Census 2010 results includes eight county and metropolitan area level maps showing population change and shifts in racial group concentrations.

2.  The Golden State is Crumbling In this piece, also appearing at The Daily Beast, Joel Kotkin blames California’s stagnancy on self-imposed policy decisions.  While the state has many assets and is rich in promise “the state will never return until the success of the current crop of puerile billionaires can be extended to enrich the wider citizenry. Until the current regime is toppled, California's decline—in moral as well as economic terms—will continue, to the consternation of those of us who embraced it as our home for so many years.”

1.  Best Cities for Jobs 2011 Our best cities rankings measure one thing: job growth.  This purposefully simple approach leaves out other less tangible measures of such as quality of life or other amenity indicators, leaving you with a tool to use creating policy for your region.