Where Job Sprawl Happens Most

MLewyn's picture

I just saw the Brookings report on job sprawl- the movement of jobs to exurbs.  Do some metros have more job sprawl than others?  If so what correlates with it?

I haven't quite figured what I'm most interested in.  But I started off by looking at the six most transit-friendly regions: Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Washington, and New York.  Three metros have a higher-than-average share of jobs within three miles of a central business district- New York (30.9), Boston (29.2) and San Francisco (25.2).  

Three others have a below-average share of downtown jobs- Philadelphia (15.2), Chicago (19.5) and Washington (21.8).  In all but Philadelphia, the downtown share of jobs was stable or growing between 2000 and 2010 (contrary to the national trend).   

The strongest correlation I saw (from this admittedly small sample) is that strong cities tend to have stronger commercial downtowns.  In Chicago, the city population declined between 2000 and 2010.  In Philadelphia and Washington, city population rebounded in the 2000s, but only after fifty years of decline.  By contrast, in New York, Boston, and San Francisco, city populations declined in the 1960s and 1970s, but started recovering as early as the 1980s.  




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