I actually got linked to this report from my Yahoo Instant Messenger Account, so it’s a report written up in an AP article published elsewhere hosted on Yahoo. Go figure. Anyways, its about how over the last decade, demographics between cities and suburbs are vastly changing and I recommend you take a look. The Brookings Institute analyzed census data and came up with the recommendation to rethink every label and connotation we have about demographics because many are wrong and most will be soon- and we will need to move our support structures (anything from public transportation systems to where social work offices are) to reflect it. They took data from the 100 largest metro areas in the country-a significant slice that covers 2/3 of the country’s population. Here are some example findings to pique your interest:
1. The majority of ANY racial group no longer lives in the city. Majorities of EVERY racial group live in the suburbs. Ideas like “more blacks live in the inner city than the lilly white suburbs” are outdated and invalid.
2. Suburbs are increasingly populated with elders, while the young (and young white especially) are moving closer to cities for jobs, transportation, and cheaper housing.
3. There is a “cultural generation gap” showing in many states (including ours) in which the senior population is disproportionately white and the youth dispraportionally minority.
4. The suburbs now have the largest poor population. While many in the cities are in something they term “deep” poverty, suburbs have higher numbers of poor in general.
5. For the first time in decades, the population is growing faster than households- due to delays in marriage, births, and longer life spans. Consider the advances of eldercare with young pros (like myself) who are living with a partner but are unmarried, combined with higher birthrates for some of our friends.
Baby boomer Mom and Pop are retiring to just another house in the suburbs, but their young professional children can’t keep up with the Joneses, but many minorities can. The researchers could almost be describing the town I live in exactly. As a white person, I am a minority racially speaking in our little bedroom community for people who work in San Francisco, Oakland, or Marin. If it weren’t for the parents, we wouldn’t be living out here in a new-ish development in a long time suburb. We couldn’t afford it, but those a little older than us with well established jobs can, and despite the downturn and the un-sellability of the houses around here, our development is mostly full, and we’ve put in one park and working on a second for all of the children that are turning up these days. About half of the families here are families. The rest are quasi-retirees, planning for something 5 or so years away.
It’s like the census slogan says: Hercules is “a snapshot of America.”