William H. Frey photo

The New Urban Demographics: Race, Space and Boomer Aging.

Publication Abstract

Frey, William H. 2000. "The New Urban Demographics: Race, Space and Boomer Aging." Brookings Review, 18(3): 20-23.

America's urban landscape is changing. The familiar distinctions between central cities and suburbs and between the growing Sunbelt and the more stagnant Frostbelt parts of the country are being complicated by new demographic trends, two in particular. The first trend is the sharp rise in immigration to the US. The second trend involves the baby-boomers. Most boomers will not move but "age in place" in the suburbs rather than in the city. Both these trends will have important effects on urban America. The new immigration that is infusing many urban areas with new residents from a variety of backgrounds suggests the need for a new way of thinking about the demographic profiles of cities and suburbs. Because conventional city-suburb, black-white demographic profiles do not take adequate account of this new immigration, a new typology of the nation's large metropolitan areas, those with populations greater than 1 million, is presented. The typology begins with a Multiethnic High Immigration category of 12 metropolitan areas with high immigration and a significant Asian or Hispanic presence. Four other categories cover areas that have a primarily black minority presence and those that are mostly white; and within each, those growing at a relatively high pace and those growing only modestly. These four categories are: White-Black Fast-Growing, White-Black Slow-Growing, Mostly White Fast-Growing, and Mostly White Slow-Growing.

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