Economy may be spurring city growth

A census records file


For decades U.S. cities have lost residents to the outlying suburbs. But according to Census data out today the trend is reversing. And the economy may have something to do with it. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, here's Sam Eaton.

SAM EATON: The numbers speak for themselves. Last year Los Angeles posted its largest increase in residents since 2002. New York, the second biggest this decade. Chicago grew by nearly a percent after five years of declines. Some say it's a reflection of how deeply the economy has limited people's ability to move.

But Carol Coletta with the urban leader network CEOs for Cities says the shift is more profound. She says cities have become more family friendly in recent years. And in a down economy Coletta says urban living can have economic benefits as well.

CAROL COLETTA: No one's quite certain they're going to have a job next week and being in a city generally delivers more access to more opportunity.

Smaller cities like Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio, also posted population gains. On the flip side, cities like Las Vegas that depended on housing construction for their growth saw steep declines. And suburbs near major cities posted their lowest growth in the past decade.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...

Sustainability Coverage

  • The Kendeda Fund
  • Wealth & Poverty Coverage

  • The Ford Foundation