JOURNALISTS AND PUNDITS THINK IT’S A BIGGER DEAL THAN IT IS, BECAUSE OF WHERE THEY LIVE: The surprisingly narrow reality of America’s urban revival.
Census population data show that suburban America is, once again, outgrowing central cities. Even exurban counties, those beyond suburban areas, are gaining population faster than urban ones, for the second year in a row. And the growth that the densest places in the country have enjoyed since the housing bust is actually slowing down.
If there’s a back-to-the-city renaissance underway in America, it’s hard to find in these broad population trends — which doesn’t make much sense if you live in the middle of Washington.
Clearly, something big has been happening in the District. The construction cranes prove as much. Whole neighborhoods have been redeveloped, and urban housing prices have skyrocketed. Demographics have perceptibly shifted in the blocks right around the city’s metro stops. The District’s population has grown by about 90,000 people in the last decade.
If there is an urban revival anywhere, it’s happening here.
The issue is that it’s happening almost nowhere else in this very big country.
Well, the Capital City in The Hunger Games was doing pretty well, too. Also, urban growth depends more than anything else on perception that crime is under control. Two years of Black Lives Matter theatrics, coupled with hapless mayors ike De Blasio in New York or Emanuel in Chicago, and the suburbs look pretty good.