Urban Growth in the 1990s: Is City Living Back?



The 1990s were an unusually good decade for the largest American cities and, in particular, for the cities of the Midwest. However, fundamentally urban growth in the 1990s looked extremely similar to urban growth during prior post–war decades. The growth of cities was determined by three main trends: (1) cities with strong human capital bases grew faster than cities without skills, (2) people moved to warmer, drier places, and (3) cities built around the automobile replaced cities that rely on public transportation. Although the negative impact of population density diminished slightly in the 1990s, there is no real evidence for a return to large, dense cities.