Aging and City Decline: Urban Aging and City Depopulation of Large U.S. Metropolitan Areas from 1970 to 2010

Timmy Huynh, University of Chicago

This paper focuses on the demographic trends of population aging and urban decline/depopulation in large U.S. metropolitans from 1970-2010. Maps of metropolitan growth rates and of percentage older-ages over the time period serve to show a rough correlation between areas of the U.S. with slower metro growth rates and with higher proportions of population ages 65+. Particular attention is then given to two of the slowest-growing metropolitan areas: Detroit and Pittsburgh. Decadal population pyramids for these two metro areas showcase how the “youth bulge” typically seen in urban areas steadily disappears over time as the older-age cohorts become proportionately and absolutely larger. Since this type of fundamental demographic shift has begun to occur elsewhere in the highly-developed world (namely, Japan), the implications of studying the more-local effects of urban aging in the U.S. can affect domestic politics and policies as the rest of the U.S. increasingly ages as well.

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Presented in Poster Session 1