Suburbs Are Dying And Cities Are Back

High gasoline prices, foreclosures all around you, empty strip malls, oxycontin addicts… those once-idyllic suburbs aren’t really heaven-on-earth.

Cities are back in style.

USA Today: The housing crisis and economic downturn that have forced many Americans to stay put are boosting older cities where population had been shrinking or was stagnant, according to Census estimates out Wednesday.

Last year, Los Angeles recorded its biggest annual increase since 2002 and New York its second largest this decade. Chicago, where population had declined for five years this decade, grew by 0.73%.

“The old big cities are actually doing better than the new hot spots,” says Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire’s Carsey Institute. “Any place that was being hurt by migration is being hurt less, and any place that depended on inflows — suburbs, exurbs and hot new markets — is not doing well.”

There’s a lot embedded in this trend, even if it is just one year. There’s the energy angle and the car angle, and the politics.

George W. Bush was the king of the exurbs. In the 2004 election, he killed Kerry because Karl Rove recognised that people who live 90 miles outside of Jacksonville and Flagstaff and Columubus, OH made up a distinct voting demographic that could be surgically targeted.

They were perfect Bushies, but by November, 2008 things had obviously begun to change, and Obama carried Florida and Ohio handily.

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