Thursday, May 13, 2010

The changing face of American cities

URBAN TRENDS. Cities in the United States are usually grouped together geographically. We have East Coast or West Coast Cities, Sun Belt or Rust Belt cities, Midwest or New England cities.
Now the Brookings Institution has found a new way to look at this. In its new State of Metropolitan America report, released yesterday, Brookings identifies seven categories of metropolitan areas based on their population growth rates, their levels of racial and ethnic diversity, and the rates at which their adults have earned college degrees.
Together these indicators say more about the metropolitan areas than their geographic location.
These are the categories of metro areas found in the study:
Next frontier: Cities like Seattle, Dallas, Houston and Washington, D.C., where population growth, diversity, and educational attainment exceed national averages.
New Heartland: Also fast growing with high education levels, but lower shares of immigrant populations. Examples: Atlanta, Columbus (Ohio), Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Portland (Oregon).
Diverse giants: Features some of the largest metro areas in the country, like New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami, with above-average diversity and educational attainment, but below-average population growth.
Border growth: Mostly in the southwestern border states, cities like Phoenix, San Antonio and Las Vegas, with a significant presence of Hispanic immigrants, many less skilled.
Mid-Sized Magnet: Similar to the Border Growth centers, but with lower shares of ethnic minorities. Examples: Tampa, Oklahoma City, Chattanooga (Tennessee).
Skilled Anchor: Slow-growing, less diverse metro areas with higher-than average levels of educational attainment, cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore and Cincinnati.
Industrial Core: Largely older industrial center that are seen as demographically disadvantaged, cities like Detroit, Buffalo, Cleveland.
After the tumultuous 2000s decade, the United States now faces a series of “new realities”, according to the Brookings study. Major cities are at the front lines of these dynamics and Brookings new way of looking at the metropolitan map of America shows how these challenges affect the country’s major cities.