Prior to COVID-19, major U.S. urban counties gained pep from key measures (2023)

Prior to COVID-19, major U.S. urban counties gained pep from key measures (1)

how did we do it

Using the well-known National Center for Health StatisticsUrban-rural classification schemeFor counties, counties in metropolitan areas with populations of at least 1 million were considered to be metropolitan or suburban. Non-metropolitan municipalities and municipalities forming metropolitan areas with fewer than 1 million inhabitants were not analyzed exhaustively.

County populations are based on U.S. population estimates as of July 1, 2018. Bureau of Statistics. These are the latest available population estimates by age.

Estimates of the educational profile, employment, and other economic characteristics of urban core and suburban counties are based on Census Bureau data obtained from the American Community Survey and the 2000 decennial census.

The results presented in this report are derived from summing the counties' scores, effectively giving more weight to counties with larger populations. The trends identified are not responsive to this weighting, as looking at the results for the median community shows similar results.


Analysis of how suburban and core urban areas are changing along demographic and economic lines, based on data from the US Census Bureau, based onDistrict level rankingerstellt vom National Center for Health Statistics bei den Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Throughout the report, the terms "urban core" and "central city" are used interchangeably to refer to the major central metropolitan areas. These are the 68 parishes that make up (or contain all of) the largest major city in the metropolitan areas. Suburban counties, or large suburban counties, are the outskirts of metropolitan areas with at least 1 million residents. In 2018, the majority of the US population lived in these 438 core and suburban counties, and thusdemographic,economistsetown planneroften focus on them. Other municipalities that are located in metropolitan areas with less than 1 million inhabitants (medium and small metropolises) or in non-metropolitan areas are not the focus of this analysis.

References to college graduates or persons with a college degree include persons with a bachelor's degree or higher.

The working-age population refers to people aged 16 and over.

A year-round full-time employee is a person who worked at least 35 hours per week (full-time) and at least 50 weeks (year-round) in the previous calendar year.

Poverty refers to people living in households with incomes below the official poverty line. Thresholds vary according to family size and composition. For example, in 2018, the poverty line for a family of four with one child under the age of 18 was $26,324.

The Northeast Census Region includes Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Vermont. The Midwest region includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. The Southern Region includes Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma/Indian Territory, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia. The Western Region includes Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

After decades of increasing population and affluence relative to core cities, the country's major suburbs have faded in luster since 2000. While the suburban population continues to grow at a relatively healthy pace, a number of indicators show that the large suburban counties are lagging behind their urban core counterparts in gains. Compared to 2000, suburban populations are now less involved in the labor market as they experience a decline in household income and housing stock values ​​that have lagged behind those in inner cities.

While many factors likely play a role, demographic trends are contributing to the changing fortunes of large suburban areas. These counties are growing at opposite ends of the age spectrum, seeing increases in adults 65 and older and those under 25. 44 – increasingly living in core urban areas.

This analysis is based on the latest available data and tracks results from 2018 onwards.preliminary evidencethat theI am currently recovering from Covid-19may have changed people's housing choices between the city and the suburbs, it is too early to have a full picture of the long-term effects. Some demographers claim that the housing results will bepartially dependent on political decisions. The analysis in this report examines the direction of city-to-city disparities before the outbreak of COVID-19.

Suburban and core urban areas

The analyzed suburban areas are the 370 peripheral communities in the 52 largest metropolitan areas in the country. Each of these metropolitan areas has a combined population of at least 1 million. Acommon circle divisiondesignates 68 districts as core urban districts. The core urban district includes the entire population of the largest major city in the metropolitan area (or all population is part of the largest major city) or has at least 250,000 major city residents. The core urban districtsare often identicalto the city center of the metropolitan area. The large suburban districts are the other peripheral districts of the metropolitan area. For example, the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI metro area has an estimated total population of 9.5 million (the country's third-largest metro area by population). The only core urban district is Cook County. Another 13 counties are large suburban counties outside of Cook County (such as DuPage, Kane, Grundy, and DeKalb counties).

Much has been written about the resurgence of better educated young adults in the country's urban centers.1Less attention is paid to the living standards of the growing elderly population, increasingly living in the suburbs. The changing living patterns of young adults and older Americans are affecting both the suburbs surrounding core urban districts and the core cities themselves. Although suburbs outnumber urban centers in terms of population, some are among the formereconomic and social gapsbetween cities and suburbs are narrowing in the new century.

Since 2000, the US population has been increasingly concentrated in the 52 largest metropolitan areas, mostly in the suburban areas. The population of the major suburban areas has increased by 25% in the new century, outpacing the population growth of the country as a whole (16%). The population in the core urban areas grew at the same pace as the national average.

Compared to their core urban counterparts, population growth in suburban counties has been at the extreme end of the age spectrum. The suburbs are big winners among children and young people aged 18 to 24 and adults 65 and older. But they lagged behind core urban areas in growth from 25 to 44 years. Since 2000, the under-25 population in the suburbs has increased by 3.3 million, compared with about 700,000 in the core urban areas. The population aged 65 and over grew by 5.2 million in the suburbs compared to just 4.3 million in the central city. The population is increasing by leaps and bounds in average age. The 25- to 44-year-old population increased by only 800,000 in the suburbs, lagging behind the increase of 2.2 million in the central counties. Population increases among 45-64 year olds were more even in the suburban and core urban areas, increasing by about 7.0 million in both.

The changing age structure of suburban counties may contribute to the decline in the vitality of the country's suburbs across a number of indicators. Education, labor market, income and housing metrics show that the suburbs have lagged behind the achievements of the urban core areas in the new century.

Peripheral suburban residents are better educated than residents of core urban areas as measured by formal education, but this advantage is declining. In 2000, 27% of adults in the suburbs had at least a bachelor's degree, compared to 25% of adults in the core cities. In 2018, 34% of the adult population in the suburbs had completed college, compared to 33% of their peers in the core cities.

A declining proportion of the working-age population in the suburbs is employed, but employment is increasing in the core urban areas. In 2000, 64% of the suburban population aged 16 and over was employed, exceeding the population of the core urban areas (59%). By 2018, the employment gap had narrowed significantly (62% in suburban areas and 61% in core urban areas).

The household income gap between suburban and core metropolitan areas has also narrowed. Median household income in large suburban counties was $101,000 in 2018, down $103,000 from the 2000 census. Median household income in the urban core was $92,000 in 2018, down from $90,000 in 2000.

with the otherresearchers noticed, property prices in core urban areas also followed a different pattern than in peripheral suburban areas. Based on homeowners' self-assessments of their property's value, median home values ​​in suburban counties have increased in the new century from $270,000 in 2000 to $333,000 in 2018. This pales in comparison to the average home appreciation that has taken place in the urban core, where home values ​​have increased from $275,000 in 2000 to $402,000 in 2018.

Large suburban populations are increasingly made up of children and adults aged 65 and over

In 2018, 183.4 million people - more than half of the entire US population - lived in the 52 largest metropolitan areas. Major metropolitan areas range from the New York metropolitan area (20.0 million in 2018) to Grand Rapids, Michigan (1.1 million).

Since 2000, the country's population has been increasingly concentrated in the suburban areas surrounding the core urban areas of the larger metropolitan areas. In the new century, major metropolitan areas gained 30.6 million residents, with most of the increase (16.6 million) taking place in the suburbs. In 2018, 25% of the total US population lived in large suburban areas, up from 23% in 2000. In contrast, the proportion of the population living in urban cores remained at 31%.

Population growth in large suburban areas, as well as in smaller metropolitan areas, came at the expense of rural areas. Approximately 14% of the total US populationlived in rural circlesin 2018, down from 16% in 2000.

Recent population growth in large suburban areas is a continuation of trends observed in the last decades of the 20th century. In the 1970s, both core urban areas and outer suburban areas increased in population share. Since 1980, the proportion of the country's total population living in the urban core has remained at 31%, while the proportion of counties living in large suburban areas has continued to increase.

The growing tendency to live in the suburbs of larger metropolitan areas is not uniform across age groups, with important consequences for the age profile of the suburbs compared to the core boroughs. The suburbs are increasingly the place of residence for the country's children and young people. In 2018, 26% of children under the age of 18 lived in large suburban areas, up from 24% in 2000. The proportion of 18-24 year olds living in suburban areas was 24% in 2018, down from 20% in 2000, reflecting the well-documented growing trend among 18-24 year oldslive with the parents(who increasingly live in the suburbs). Adults between the ages of 25 and 44 are now more likely to live in the central counties than in 2000.

In addition to children and youth ages 18 to 24, an increasing number of Americans age 65 and older live in large suburban areas (25% live there, up from 22% in 2000). At the same time, the proportion of older Americans living in urban centers has declined in the new century (27% from 28% in 2000).

The result is that large suburban areas now have more population at the end of the age spectrum and less in the middle compared to core urban areas. Larger suburban areas are increasingly home to under-25s and adults over 65 (many of whom are not working), who are often considered dependents.

The proportion of suburban county residents aged 65 and older increased from 12% (2000) to 16% (2018). Core urban areas are also ageing, but not as rapidly - 14% of their residents are older, up from 11% in 2000.

In 2000, children made up about 26% of the population in both suburban and urban counties. Children now make up a smaller proportion of the population, particularly in core urban areas (22% versus 23% in the suburbs). As for 18-24 year olds, their presence is increasing in suburban areas (increasing from 8% in 2000 to 9% in 2018), but in core urban areas their share of the population is declining.

Suburban counties now have a lower proportion of the population in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups compared to 2000. The proportion of 25 to 34 year olds in the population has fallen from 14% (2000) to 13% (2018). ) in large suburban areas and the population aged 35-44 (from 17% to 13%).

The decline in the share of the population aged 25-44 was more modest in the core urban areas. The population aged 25-34 remained stable at 16%, while the presence of 35-44 years fell (from 16% to 14%), but not as much as in the suburbs.

In both the suburban counties and the large urban counties, the 45-64 year olds now make up the largest age group in the population, and the proportion of the population aged 45-64 is around 4 in the suburban and suburban areas Percentage point increase Central cities since 2000.

Since 2000, the population of large suburban areas has increasingly been made up of people who are often considered dependent (from 46% in 2000 to 47% in 2018).2During the same period, the proportion of dependents in the core city fell from 47% to 45%. The growing dependency poses a tax challenge for suburban counties as children and seniors require public services such as schools, colleges and senior centers and may not contribute much to the local tax base.

The general pattern of erosion in the distribution of the suburban population of large metropolitan areas—relatively fewer young people aged 25–44, more elderly people and children, and more young people aged 18–24—is generally maintained across all regions of the country (seeAttachment).

Suburban profits lag behind core urban areas on several dimensions

As central cities have overtaken peripheral suburban areas in attracting working-age adults, and large suburbs have increased in size at each end of the age spectrum, some of the long-standing suburban advantages over inner city have been narrowed or even reversed in the new century.

The country's adults have become increasingly educated, and this is true for adults in large suburban areas as well as in urban core areas. The educational gains were slightly larger in the urban core than in the neighboring suburban areas. About 34% of adults in suburban counties have at least a bachelor's degree, up from 27% in 2000. In core urban areas, 33% of adults have a college degree, up from 25% in 2000.

Although other factors are likely to play a role, gains in education in suburban areas can be expected to be delayed due to their changing populations.Older adults are less likelycollege degrees than younger adults. And many young people between the ages of 18 and 24 have not yet completed their education.

Immigration can also contribute to educational convergence between the suburbs and their counterparts in the urban core. Immigration has affected the suburbs more than the urban core in the 21st century. The proportion of foreign-born in the population has increased by 4 percentage points in the suburbs since 2000, but by only 2 percentage points in the core urban areas. Although immigrants are almost as likely as the native population to have at least a bachelor's degree, asignificantly higher proportion of ithave no education beyond high school compared to the US-born population.

Educational convergences are more pronounced in the large metropolises of the South. In 2000, adults from suburban southern metro areas were significantly better educated (30%) than their core city peers (25%). Now the southern suburbs lag behind the literacy levels of the central counties (32% and 33%, respectively).

Among those able to work in 2000, suburbanites were much more likely to be employed (64%) than their inner-city peers (59%). Employment retention declined among working-age adults in the suburbs but increased in the core urban areas, bringing employment rates closer together (62% in the suburbs versus 61% in the urban core). Converging urban-suburb employment rates are observed in all regions of the country.

A change in work intensity can also be seen. In 2000, 62% of workers in suburban areas of major cities worked full-time year-round, exceeding the 58% of workers in the urban core who worked those hours. This suburban advantage has also dissipated, with more recently 66% of core city workers working full-time year-round compared to 65% of suburban workers.

Changing demographics are likely to play an important role in the employment aspirations of suburban working-age adults. Both 16-24 year olds and 65 year olds and older are less likely to be employed than other adults.

The smaller size of the suburban population compared to core urban areas is also evident in the census income data. Looking first at per capita income, per capita income for suburban counties was approximately US$38,000 in 2018, compared to US$39,000 in 2000 (in 2018 US dollars). In contrast, per capita income in core urban areas increased from US$34,000 in 2000 to US$35,000 in 2018. This is not surprising given that children do not earn much, 18-24 year olds do have below-average incomes and adults aged 65 and over—all groups that make up a growing proportion of the suburban population—tend to have per capitaIncome below the national average.

When it comes to median household income, large suburban counties ($101,000) have not returned to the 2,000 ($103,000) level, while median household income in core urban counties ($92,000) is 2,000 ($90,000 US dollars) slightly exceeded ).

The largest decline in median household income is in suburban Midwest counties. Household income in the Midwest suburbs has fallen from $102,000 in 2000 to just $94,000 in 2018. Median household income has also fallen in core Midwest urban areas, but not by as much. Metro suburbs in the Northeast have seen increases in household income (from $113,000 in 2000 to $115,000 in 2018), but this lags behind the income increases of their core urban counterparts.

In addition to declining incomes, suburban counties in the 52 largest metropolitan areas also experienced greater increases in poverty than core urban counties. The population living in poverty has increased by about 3 million in each borough type since 2000, but this represents a 55% increase in suburban areas compared to a 23% increase in inner-city boroughs as the number of people living in Poverty living, characterized by poverty in the suburbs was lower than in the core cities. It is worth noting that poverty in the US has increased since 2000 following two national economic crises.

Returning to the vitality of the real estate market, home appreciation in large suburban areas has lagged behind core urban areas (home values ​​in this analysis are based on homeowners' own reports). The median home value in the suburbs is $333,000, up from $270,000 in 2000. The home value in the core urban areas, which was similar to the suburbs in 2000 ($275,000), is now $402,000. Average home values ​​vary widely across regions across the country, but in all regions, suburban appreciation has lagged behind the rise in home values ​​in core urban areas.

However, when it comes to home ownership, suburban and urban counties have seen declines of a similar magnitude. In the suburbs, 70% of households are homeowners, up from 73% in 2000. In urban center counties, 53% of households are homeowners, up from 55% in 2000.


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