The Demographic Burden of Population Decline in U.S. Cities, 2000–2010

Rachel S. Franklin, Brown University

Urban shrinkage, or population loss, has to date received little attention from spatial demographers, in spite of the fact that the phenomenon is incontrovertibly both spatial and demographic. This paper introduces the concept of community-level exposure to population decline and investigates 1) who is impacted by this loss, 2) the extent to which population loss is experienced disproportionately across urban space and demographic subgroups, and 3) whether decline occurring at multiple spatial scales magnifies exposure for some groups more than others. The study period is 2000–2010 and the unit of analysis is U.S. cities with populations of 100,000+ in 2010 and their constituent census tracts. The demographic characteristics employed are age, race/ethnicity, and poverty for census tracts, cities, and metropolitan areas. Neighborhood change and the characteristics of those experiencing that change are evaluated within the context of the city as a whole, as well as the larger metropolitan area.

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Presented in Session 7: Spatial Demographic Analysis of Poverty