(p. B1) Last month the Census Bureau confirmed a confounding dynamic taking hold across the American landscape: Superstar cities, the nation’s economic powerhouses, hotbeds of opportunity at the cutting edge of technological progress, are losing people to other parts of the country.
For the first time in at least a decade, 4,868 more people left King County, Wash. — Amazon’s home — than arrived from elsewhere in the country.
Santa Clara County, Calif., home to most of Silicon Valley, lost 24,645 people to domestic migration, its ninth consecutive annual loss.
The trend is becoming widespread. Eight of the 10 largest metropolitan areas in the country, including those around New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Miami, lost people to other places in 2018. That was up from seven in 2016, five in 2013 and four in 2010. Migration out of the New York area has gotten so intense that its total population shrank in 2018 for the second year in a row.
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(p. B5) Research by Peter Ganong from the University of Chicago and Daniel Shoag of Harvard suggests that housing costs are a principal driver of the change in migration decisions: As the highly educated have flocked to superstar cities, they have pushed housing prices way beyond the reach of people earning less.
. . .
It is not obvious how to turn big cities back into magnets of opportunity for the working class. Many of the jobs that offered a leg up to those without a college background no longer exist and won’t come back. But there are policies that could make a difference. Relaxing zoning regulations to make it easier to build could slow rising rents, ensuring that the housing supply keeps up with demand.
And yet the prospects do not look good. California lawmakers last week shelved Senate Bill 50, which would have forced cities to allow denser housing near public transit and removed density limits in wealthier areas close to job centers and good schools. The bill faced stiff opposition from many municipal governments and residents enamored with low-density living — not to mention rising property values.
The single-family-home ethos may eventually lose its grip on the politics of America’s superstar cities. Until then, it will make sense for those without a degree to look for opportunities elsewhere, in places like Kansas City or Des Moines or Las Vegas.
For the full story, see:
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date May 21 [sic], 2019, and has the title “Why Workers Without College Degrees Are Fleeing Big Cities.” The print version listed Eduardo Porter as the sole author. The online version adds Guilbert Gates as a co-author.)
The research, mentioned above, by Ganong and Shoag, was published as:
Ganong, Peter, and Daniel Shoag. “Why Has Regional Income Convergence in the U.S. Declined?” Journal of Urban Economics 102 (Nov. 2017): 76-90.