Long-established trends in the growth and decline of America's cities appear to be shifting according to new Census data released Tuesday. The data cover population trends for cities -- that is, incorporated areas -- from 2000 to 2009, and also for the immediate post-economic crisis period spanning July 2008 to July 2009.
Some major cities, which had long seen population decline, registered population gains. Chicago, for example, saw its population increase by 0.8 percent, its fastest pace of the decade, while New York expanded 0.5 percent, continuing gains in recent years. Other cities, notably many Sunbelt cities that had long seen rapid growth, saw their gains slow considerably for the first time in modern memory.
More than half of all cities (19 of 34) with more than 500,000 people grew faster this year than a year ago, according to demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institution. Frey and other experts told The Wall Street Journal the housing bust has caused a significant slowdown in mobility, keeping younger households from moving to the suburbs, while stemming growth in Sunbelt regions. A number of larger cities and urban areas have turned around long-run population losses and begun to see consistent, if small, gains.