The Census Bureau today released new county and metro area level estimates for population. In my latest article for City Journal, I take a look at some of the trends. Here’s an excerpt:
Ninety-four metro areas, representing about a quarter of the nation’s total, lost population last year on a region-wide basis. This includes nine major metros of more than 1 million people. Among them were the three biggest: New York (down 19,474 people, or 0.10 percent), Los Angeles (down 7,223, or 0.05 percent), and Chicago (down 22,068, or 0.23 percent).
Among smaller metros, Boise, Idaho continues its streak as a red-hot market. It was the eighth-fastest-growing metro in the country last year and has added 113,860 people (up 18.47 percent) since the 2010 Census. Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, was the 11th-fasting-growing metro; Idaho Falls, the 20th. This strong growth, which includes a significant influx of coastal residents, will likely shift that state’s politics in the future. One resident said recently said that Idaho is becoming “the new Colorado.”
America is experiencing economic and demographic divergence, with some cities booming while a significant share of the nation’s metro areas shrink. Between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, 42 metro areas in the country lost population. Based on the midyear population estimates, 85 metro areas have shrunk since 2010. Not just cities, but entire regions are getting smaller. While population growth is not the sole, or perhaps even the best, measure of urban health, population loss can cause serious problems. It can, for example, lead to sprawl without growth, which depresses housing prices and causes home abandonment. And it causes fiscal stress for local governments because so many of their costs are fixed or semi-fixed, such as bond payments and the need to maintain infrastructure.
Click through to read the whole thing.