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Redefining Urban and Suburban America

Evidence from Census 2000

edited by Alan Berube, Bruce J. Katz, and Robert E. Lang

Publication Year: 2005

Results from Census 2000 continue to reveal the striking changes taking place in the nation's cities and suburbs during the 1990s. Thanks to a decade of strong economic growth, concentrated poverty in inner cities declined dramatically, homeownership rose among young minority households, and workers from abroad settled in growing metropolitan areas that had experienced little immigration to date. This second volume in the Redefining Urban and Suburban America series makes clear, however, that regional differences add texture to these broader social and economic trends. Using data from the Census "long form," the contributors to this book probe migration, income and poverty, and housing trends in the nation's largest cities and metropolitan areas. Economically, the fast-growing Sunbelt and the Midwest performed well in the 1990s, enjoying declining poverty rates, rising homeownership, and the evolution of a solid middle-class population. Cities like San Antonio, Chicago, Houston, and Columbus saw stunning declines in high-poverty neighborhoods. The story was more mixed in the coastal areas of the Northeast and West, where poverty rates rose in cities such as Boston, New York, Washington, and Los Angeles. On net, their metro areas lost residents to other parts of the United States, even as they gained workers and families from abroad. This volume provides a closer look at the unprecedented social and economic changes taking place in the nation's oldest and newest communities, and explores the implications for a diverse set of policy areas, including metropolitan development patterns, immigrant incorporation, and the promotion of affordable housing and homeownership.

Published by: Brookings Institution Press

Series: James A. Johnson Metro Series

Front Cover

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Title, Copyright

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Strobe Talbott

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pp. vii-viii

Urban areas will claim nearly all of the world’s population growth during the next thirty years, according to the United Nations. It is no surprise, then, that the fortunes of cities and metropolitan areas figure prominently among the concerns of leaders across the globe. Public- and private-sector officials from Philadelphia to London to Beijing are grappling with the universal challenges of population growth or decline, poverty, housing, traffic, and...

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Alan Berube, Bruce Katz, Robert E. Lang

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pp. 1-12

To many, the 1990s probably seem like an innocent bygone era, with twenty-four-year-old dot-com millionaires, governments awash in surplus cash, the discovery of the grande latte, and the nation (mostly) at peace. Beyond these historical hallmarks, however, the 1990s brought unparalleled economic and demographic change to the United States, the effects of which..

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Metropolitan Magnets for International and Domestic Migrants

William H. Frey

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pp. 13-40

Hundreds of thousands of people move to the United States each year seeking a better life. Millions of Americans move to new locations within the United States each year for the same reason. The respective destinations of these two groups—immigrants and domestic migrants—shape the physical landscape, public service needs, business patterns, and political culture of our nation’s metropolitan areas. For those reasons international and domestic...

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The Rise of New Immigrant Gateways: Historical Flows, Recent Settlement Trends

Audrey Singer

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pp. 41-86

The United States is in the midst of a wave of unprecedented immigration. Immigrants made up 11.1 percent of the U.S. population in 2000. During the 1990s the foreign-born population grew by 11.3 million (57.4 percent), bringing the Census 2000 count of immigrants to 31.1 million. The rapidity of this influx, coupled with its sheer size, means that American society...

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The New Great Migration: Black Americans' Return to the South, 1965-2000

William H. Frey

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pp. 87-110

During the early part of the twentieth century black Americans left the U.S. South in large numbers. Several factors precipitated their “Great Migration” to northern cities.1 First, the mechanization of Southern agriculture rendered many farm workers, including blacks, redundant. Second, the industrialization of the Northeast and Midwest created millions of manufacturing jobs for unskilled workers. Finally, the generally oppressive racial climate in the South...

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A Decade of Mixed Blessings: Urban and Suburban Poverty in Census 2000

Alan Berube, William H. Frey

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pp. 111-136

The 1990s was a decade of unprecedented economic growth in the United States. Real GDP grew at a blistering 4.3 percent annual pace from 1992 to 2000. The unemployment rate at the time of Census 2000 was 3.9 percent, the lowest in a generation. In the late 1990s the strong economy helped move millions of individuals from welfare to work, and lifted employment and earnings among such traditionally disadvantaged groups as high school...

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Stunning Progress, Hidden Problems: The Dramatic Decline of Concentrated Poverty in the 1990s

Paul A. Jargowsky

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pp. 137-172

For many years the conditions of life in the poorest of poor neighborhoods have attracted the attention of filmmakers, journalists, and academic researchers. Each of these witnesses, in his or her own way, has provided stark evidence of the devastating effects impoverished environments can have on those unfortunate enough to dwell within them, and of how these..

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The Trajectory of Poor Neighborhoods in Southern California, 1970-2000

Shannon McConville, Paul Ong

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pp. 173-194

Growing economic inequality remains one of this nation’s most pressing problems. After controlling for the effects of the business cycle, there is a clear, long-term trend of a “widening divide” between rich and poor.1 Several factors have contributed to this trend, including global competition, rapid technological change, industrial restructuring, increasing returns to...

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The Shape of the Curve: Household Income Distributions in U.S. Cities, 1979-99

Alan Berube, Thacher Tiffany

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pp. 195-244

The notion of cities as centers of the American melting pot is well rooted in our nation’s history and popular consciousness. As much as places where people of different races and ethnicities mix, cities have long been portrayed as bringing the wealthy, the middle class, and the poor together within their borders.1 Of course just because individuals of different means have lived in cities does not mean...

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Homeownership and Younger Households: Progress among African Americans and Latinos

Dowell Myers Gary Painter

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pp. 245-265

The best housing news from the 1990s is that the United States achieved the largest national gain in the homeownership rate since the 1950s, 2 percentage points, reversing the decline experienced in the 1980s. The increase was so widespread that Simmons termed it a “coast-to-coast expansion” in homeownership.1 Several important features of the rebound in homeownership have been documented...

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Rising Affordability Problems among Homeowners

Patrick A. Simmons

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pp. 266-284

During the 1990s the U.S. homeownership rate increased more than at any time since the 1950s. Growth in the number of homeowners was the second largest on record, exceeded only by the gain registered during the 1970s.1 Minorities shared in this boom, supported by numerous public and private efforts to expand homeownership opportunities for historically underserved population...

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The Sheltered Homeless in Metropolitan Neighborhoods: Evidence from the 1990 and 2000 Censuses

Barrett A. Lee, Chad R. Farrell

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pp. 285-310

Americans expect a lot from their neighborhoods. Many believe that the ideal neighborhood is primarily if not exclusively residential in nature, a safe haven of single-family homes whose owner-occupants keep up their property, get along well together, and want the best for their children. According to this belief, any encroachment of commercial or nonresidential land uses into an area should be resisted, given its potential for undermining the presumed...

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Patterns and Trends in Overcrowded Housing: Results from Census 2000

Patrick A. Simmons

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pp. 311-330

Overcrowded tenements in the immigrant neighborhoods of large U.S. cities helped galvanize the housing reform movement of the early twentieth century. As immigration subsided, families shrank, and home building boomed during the postwar period, however, residential overcrowding declined dramatically. Sharp drops in household densities were accompanied by..


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pp. 331-332


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pp. 333-349

Back Cover

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p. 350-350

E-ISBN-13: 9780815797678
E-ISBN-10: 0815797672

Page Count: 348
Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: James A. Johnson Metro Series