chapter  3
9 Pages

Shrinking Cities in the United States in Historical Perspective: A Research Note


In the decades after World War II, many large industrial cities in the United States shed jobs and residents at alarming rates (Beauregard 2006b, 2003b; Bradbury et al. 1982). Suburbanization, coupled with the growth of cities in the Sunbelt, made their dire fate even more pronounced. As the 1980s unfolded, however, population loss diminished. By the following decade, commentators were touting the revival and resurgence of these very same cities (Beauregard 2004; Cheshire 2006; Furdell et al. 2005). Yet many former manufacturing centers-places like Youngstown (Ohio), Erie (Pennsylvania), Flint and Detroit (Michigan), Bridgeport (Connecticut), Camden (New Jersey) and Rochester (New York)—continued to cast off residents (El-Nasser 2006; Lanks 2006). Cities were still shrinking.