Thursday, July 15, 2010

Suburban Movement

Movement to the suburbs continues, as this data-driven article from New Geography notes.

An excerpt.

“Anyone who challenges the notion that the long predicted exodus of people from the suburbs to the city has been wildly overstated is sure to generate some backlash from urban boosters. Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution contends in a New Republic column that "head counts" better reveal city trends than property trends or the massive condo bust. He points to a Brookings Institution analysis by Bill Frey, entitled "Texas Gains, Suburbs Lose in 2010 Census Review," which compares trends in major cities and suburbs, but offers not a sentence demonstrating any actual population “loss” in suburbs (his point is that their growth rates have declined).

“However, Berube has a point. Head counts are the issue. The annual Bureau of the Census "head count" of domestic migration reveals that the suburban to urban core exodus is as elusive as it has ever been. Gross population totals reveal nothing with respect to movements between the suburbs and the core. There is no doubt that core city population trends have improved, and this is a good thing. However, there is not a shred of evidence that suburbanites are picking up and moving to the cores.

“Domestic Migration: This is indicated by a "head count" of migration trends during the decade and during the last year. Each year, the Bureau of the Census estimates the number of people who move between counties (domestic migration) and the number of people who move into metropolitan areas from outside the nation (international migration). The data is estimated at the county (equivalent) level, which means that, except where cities are counties (such as Baltimore, San Francisco and others), individual core city data is not available. Thus, the analysis has to rely on core versus suburban counties in metropolitan areas (Note 1).

“In short, the nation's urban cores continue to lose domestic migrants with a vengeance, however are doing quite well at attracting international migration. Thus, core growth is not resulting from migration from suburbs or any other part of the nation, but is driven by international migration.

“The following analysis covers all but four (48) metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population as of 2009. San Diego, Las Vegas and Tucson are excluded because they include only one county, so there is only a core county and no suburban county. New Orleans is excluded due to the special circumstances of the huge population losses from Hurricane Katrina.

“Generally, domestic migrants are leaving the nation's largest metropolitan areas. Between 2000 and 2009, a net 1,900,000 domestic migrants moved to areas of the nation outside the largest metropolitan areas (Table 1). Domestic migration losses occurred 24 of the 48 metropolitan areas. In the last year (2008-2009), the net domestic out-migration for all 48 regions in total was 22,000, 90% below the 2000-2008 annual rate. A somewhat smaller number of metropolitan areas, 22, experienced domestic migration losses in the last year. Most observers, including Berube, trace this diminishing loss to the recession, which has made movement in any direction more difficult over the past two years.”