Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Triangle Of Demographic Doom

Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. Persistent demographic decline has dogged these three Rust Belt cities for the last three decades. They stand out as uniquely shrinking, infamous. General US population trends do not apply:

Metropolitan growth during this century’s first decade seemed poised for a continued upward trajectory. The booming 1990s heralded the greatest growth the nation’s large metropolitan areas had seen since the 1960s. During the 1970s, deindustrialization and something of a rural renaissance sharply reduced metropolitan growth, especially in the industrial Midwest. A small-but-mixed metropolitan growth revival occurred during the 1980s. But it was in the 1990s, when the nation’s population growth swelled with active immigration and the rise of the millennials, that metropolitan growth showed a rebound, especially in new parts of the Sun Belt and in areas with diversifying economies. This revival was echoed in suburbs and large cities, where some urban centers showed gains after decades of population loss. Thus, the groundwork was laid for continued and pervasive metropolitan growth in the 2000s.

Emphasis added. The millennial migration in particular skipped over the troubled threesome. This part of America is truly the last of the urban frontier. (Sorry, Detroit.) A few waves of migration have failed to reach this lonely corner of the earth, another cul de sac of globalization.

Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo are stuck in time, place. They comprise the cradle of Rust Belt Chic. The troubled threesome represent what millennials most want out of an urban experience. (Sorry, Portland.) What you can find in the Triangle of Demographic Doom, you can't find anywhere else.

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