You get the feeling that, after nearly a century of blooming, booming suburbs, we're all waiting for the inflection moment when we can finally announce the unequivocal comeback of the American City.
Is this it?
More than half of the country's 51 largest cities grew faster than their suburbs in the year before July 2011, according Census data analyzed by the Brookings Institution for the Wall Street Journal. The trend is truly cross-country. Cities as diverse as Atlanta, New York, Phoenix, and Boston are growing faster inside their city limits than outside.
Higher Rate of Suburban Growth
I've got three observations: (1) Northeastern cities are, mostly, growing faster than their surrounding suburbs; (2) Texas and California suburbs are, mostly, growing faster than their cities; (3) There aren't many cities where the urban/suburban growth gap is greater than half a percentage point. In the urban column, the Big City Winners are Atlanta, Denver, Washington, and Charlotte. In the suburban column, you've got Jacksonville and Indianapolis. (I'm excluding New Orleans because of Hurricane Katrina.) To me, these graphs suggest, but do not prove, that the country's highest-productivity areas are re-urbanizing at a faster rate.