U.S. Population declining in far Suburbs – growing in Urban Areas

A recent article from USA Today, America’s romance with Sprawl may be over, looks at the decline of population growth at the fringe suburbs and the increase of population growth within Urban areas. Here is an excerpt from the article:

•Central metro counties accounted for 94% of U.S. growth, compared with 85% just before the recession.

“This could be the end of the exurb as a place where people aspire to go when they’re starting their families,” says William Frey, demographer at the Brookings Institution. “So many people have been burned by this. … First-time home buyers, immigrants and minorities took a real big hit.”

During the ’70s gas shortage and the ’80s savings and loan industry crisis, some predicted the end of suburban sprawl. It didn’t happen then, but current trends could change the nation’s growth patterns permanently.

Aging Baby Boomers, who have begun to retire, and Millennials, who are mostly in their teens and 20s, are more inclined to live in urban areas, McIlwain says.

“I’m not sure we’re going to see outward sprawl even if the urge to sprawl continues,” he says. “Counties are getting to the point that they don’t have the money to maintain the roads, water, sewer. … This is a century of urbanization.”

This last statement that Counties don’t have enough money to maintain its sprawled out, aging infrastructure is becoming a growing problem, one that may not have an easy solution especially  for the outer fridge ‘exurb’  especially as federal public subsidies are pretty much dried up. To see how one organization is trying to solve this problem through a new (with bits of old) way of thinking see StrongTowns