The State of Metropolitan America

“The 2000s were a tumultuous decade for Americans. The oscillating state of the economy, which careened from a mild recession to booming house prices and, finally, to the worst downturn since the Great Depression, complicates the task of summarizing what the decade meant for the future of American society. Nonetheless, the boom-bust economics of the 2000s did not repeal the structural forces that continue to transform our population.”
— Brookings Institution, The State of Metropolitan America

Earlier this month, the Brookings Institution released an extensive 172-page report on The State of Metropolitan America.

With abundant graphs, charts and maps, the report “portrays the demographic and social trends shaping the nation’s essential economic and societal units—its large metropolitan areas—and discusses what they imply for public policies to secure prosperity for these places and their populations.”

In doing so, it “focuses on the major demographic forces transforming the nation and large metropolitan areas in the 2000s. In this sense, it previews what we will learn from the results of the 2010 Census, as well as supplements those results in important ways. It includes chapters that correspond to nine of the most important subjects tracked by the Census Bureau in its annual American Community Survey, along with the policy implications of the findings.”

In addition, the State of Metropolitan America “uses data from these subject areas to show that our nation faces five ‘new realities,’ currently redefining the country.” The five “new realities” they discern are 1) growth and outward expansion, 2) population diversification, 3) aging of the population, 4) uneven higher educational attainment and 5) income polarization. “In each of these five areas, the nation reached critical milestones in the 2000s that make those underlying realities too large to ignore any longer. And large metropolitan areas—the collections of cities, suburbs, and rural areas that house two-thirds of America’s population—lay squarely on the front lines of those trends.

“The report also introduces an emerging metropolitan typology, containing seven distinct categories. These new classifications are based upon metrics of population growth, diversity, and educational attainment as compared to national averages.” Specifically these metropolitan areas are designated as “next frontier”, “new heartland”, “diverse giant”, “border growth”, “mid-sized magnet”, “skilled anchor”, and “industrial core.”

Included in the release of the report is an interactive State of Metropolitan America Indicator Map which graphically displays salient elements of the demographic and social characteristics of America’s metropolitan areas.

The Wichita metropolitan area, for instance, ranks 84th in population at 603,716. However, the metropolitan area ranks 43rd in married couples with children (at 21.6%) and 21st in population under age 5 (at 7.9%).

Published in: on May 25, 2010 at 2:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

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