Population Growth Concentrating in Metro Areas
The recently released Census Bureau population estimates show the nation becoming increasingly metropolitan. Large metro areas are growing at twice the rate of smaller ones. In fact, nearly one in seven Americans reside in just three metro areas—Chicago, Los Angeles, or New York. And almost one in three live in one of the 10 most populous areas, which include the three just mentioned, plus Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, Philadelphia, Washington, Miami, Atlanta, and Boston.
The population estimates show the percentage of our nation’s population living in a metropolitan area ticked up from 85.3 percent in 2012 to 85.4 percent in 2013. Although this appears to be not much of an increase, it’s worth noting that the population living in such areas grew by 2.3 million over the period. At the same time, the population living in non-metropolitan statistical areas climbed by a mere 8,000. Therefore, metro areas were responsible for virtually all of our nation’s population growth.
Metro areas, by the way, contain a core urban area of at least 50,000 people and consist of the county or counties that area is located in, plus any adjacent counties from which a relatively large number of people commute to work in the urban core. Micro areas—the kid sisters of sorts to metro areas—have a core with at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 people.