NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Despite Federal Policy, America Becoming More Suburban

November 20, 2014

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has pushed urbanization policies that promote urban living by issuing dense development grants and promoting high-speed rail. But according to Joel Kotkin, executive editor of, such policies are out of tune with Americans' preferences. In fact, Americans are not flocking to cities, but to the suburbs:

  • According to the most recent census data, 90 percent of all metropolitan population increases were due to suburban growth.
  • From 2000 to 2010, "core cities" (areas within two miles of a city's downtown) gained over 250,000 net residents, while areas 10 to 20 miles from the city center gained 15 million net residents.
  • Since 2010, suburbs have seen an increase of 4.4 million people, while "core cities" have seen an increase of less than 2 million.
  • According to Wendell Cox, over 80 percent of residents in metropolitan residents have suburban lifestyles.

This trend, writes Kotkin, makes the suburban vote critical to electoral success, noting that the most recent Republican Senate victories by Joni Ernst in Iowa, Corey Gardner in Colorado and Thom Tillis in North Carolina were largely due to large numbers of suburban support.

Source:  Joel Kotkin, "The Progressives' War on Suburbia," New Geography, November 17, 2014. 


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