The first post in this series compared population growth rates of US MSAs in five successive zones or rings from downtown to the exurbs.
Now I'll look at some key cities in more detail.
First, the three biggest metropolitan areas, which incidentally have all had relative low growth rates of 3-4% from 2000 to 2010.
The "dispersion scores" (adjusted for population growth) from the previous post were
Los Angeles: 0.63
New York: 0.28
That seems to match the graph. While Chicago's downtown experienced the greatest population growth of all American downtowns, the areas beyond experienced population loss. Many of the more desirable neighbourhoods saw declining household sizes and minimal new development, while less desirable areas experienced abandonment. Total population loss between 2 and 23 miles of downtown was 267,665, compared to a gain of 48,288 within 2 miles and a gain of 581,522 beyond 23 miles of downtown.
New York and LA were more balanced with some population growth throughout most of the metro area. The high growth rates within 4 miles of NYC City Hall correspond to Central Manhattan and areas just across the Hudson and East Rivers. The growth around 7-10 miles corresponds to the outer boroughs and parts of Newark. As for the population loss between 2 and 6 miles from LA City Hall, it was relatively small, declining by about 2%. LA County went from having 4% of housing units vacant in 2000 to 6% vacant in 2010, so that could be part of the cause.
Next you have three booming sunbelt cities.
Houston and Charlotte have had a bit of downtown growth and Phoenix actually lost a bit of population in the core, but all that is insignificant compared to the huge suburban growth these cities have experienced. Charlotte is a smaller city, so it seems like open land existed closer to downtown. In the case of the growth 5-10 miles from downtown Phoenix, looking at the NY Times map it seems most of that has been greenfield development south and southwest of downtown on land that was previously overlooked.
Next, the unofficial capital of the Southeast and one of the oldest cities in America.
Boston vs Dallas
Next, three cities well known for smart growth and urban infill, which still have moderately high metropolitan area growth rates.
Growth rates peak at distances that correspond to the suburban periphery, but are still relatively significant throughout.
Here are the three biggest rust belt metros.
Finally there's 3 cities with "hidden" inner city decline, where the central city grew, but growth near the city limits masks population loss closer to downtown.
If anyone's interested in seeing comparisons of other cities, just leave a comment.