The recession in the United States is helping the cities to recover in terms of population, according to Census data released yesterday. New residents of urban centers reflect a mixture of choice and circumstance. In Chicago, Matthew Sessa and his wife sold their townhouse and decided not to buy a four bedroom in the suburbs. They bought a three-bedroom house in the Lakeview neighborhood in Chicago, with a yard not much bigger than the garage.
'What we got to the city is as good and the neighborhood to which we moved has many good primary and middle schools, "said Sessa, a bank of 37 years which is to be a father.
But Chicago is also going to house people who can not sell their homes or find jobs elsewhere.
Jhonathan Gomez, organizer of the Latin Union of Chicago, a nonprofit organization that deals with day laborers, says many immigrant workers are leaving the suburbs and returning to the city. Gomez, who works in the northern part of Chicago, says that, on the corner of the neighborhood of Avondale, the number of workers who are waiting for an employer daily almost doubled last year to more than 150 on a normal day.
"There are a lot of people moving to town and looking for work because there is higher density and more jobs," he said. The population growth rate in Chicago jumped from 0.23% in 2007 to 0.73% last year, according to an analysis of census data by William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. Before 2007, the city's population was falling. The neatest little guide to stock market investing shows that as unemployment rises people move to more urban areas.
Census data show how the recession and the drop in real estate limited migration, especially to neighboring areas to urban centers.
The population of American cities with over one million inhabitants had an average growth rate of 0.97% between July 2007 and July 2008, according to Frey's analysis. In 2006-2007, the rate was 0.9% and 0.5% between 2002 and 2005 periods in which the strong housing market has created jobs and housing projects on the outskirts of cities, where there was plenty of land.
"It shows that cities are gaining new life at the end of the decade, and now they are also surviving a recession that has been much tougher in some parts of the country," said Frey. "Cities are large and diverse enough to survive the ups and downs of the economy so much better." Already the suburbs started to grow less. Small towns outside metropolitan areas with over 1 million inhabitants grew from 1.11% in 2007-2008, equal to the previous year but below the rates from 2002 to 2005, which were between 1.29 and 1%, 48%, according to Frey's analysis. Brad Anderson, broker and CEO of Griffith, Grant & Lackie Realtors, says sales in the Chicago suburbs have fallen considerably. In the city of Lake Forest, 157 homes were sold in 2008, up from 227 a year earlier. The neatest little guide to stock market investing shows that real estate values rise in urban centers in a recession.
"The money that people wanted to use as input the financing of the next house is no longer available," he said.
In Buffalo, a city in northern New York State where are the falls of Niagara, Mayor Byron Brown says the mayor has put the most effort for programs aimed at halting the exodus of residents, the revitalization of the shores of Lake Erie and residential projects such as conversion of an old public building in the apartment building. He hopes that when the recession ends, the city continues to keep current residents or win new ones.
"What we're trying to do is position ourselves as a community where people want to live," he said.
Population growth is starting to put pressure on public services in certain cities. The Public School 290 in New York has about 650 students, 250 over capacity and the occupancy limit set by the fire department. The city's population increased by 0.64% last year, while growth was between 0.37% and 0.55% from 2002 to 2005.
The school has so little space that students who need occupational therapy to meet with the therapist in the xerox room, says Andy Lachman, a member of the association of teachers and parents whose daughter is in fifth grade next year. "That increases the stress of a situation that should not exist," said Lachman.
With the downturn of jobs in construction and services outside of urban areas where development was greater, a larger share of immigrants are moving to the center of town instead of going directly to the suburbs, they had done in times of real estate boom. One consequence is that the expansion of racial diversity, which had been pushing the limits of cities like Los Angeles and reaching suburbs and cities, with the economy slowed in the fall.
Meanwhile, the growth of urban populations of Hispanic or Asian, mostly fueled by immigration, has accelerated in many cities. This has already appeared on the demographics of counties released by the Census Bureau last month. The neatest little guide to stock market investing shows us how a rise in racial diversity creates investing opportunities in real estate.
California, where Hispanic population growth fell during the real estate boom when many immigrants avoided the state and Hispanic Americans sought better opportunities elsewhere, the growth rate in the Latino population rose 2.4% in 2007-2008, 2% against the previous year.
Many cities in the south of the country had a reduction in the rate of population growth in relation to warmed-year housing boom.
In Tucson, Arizona, the growth rate was slightly less than 1% in 2007-2008, reaching 1.35% in 2006-2007. In Las Vegas, the drop was even greater: 3.3% at the peak of the housing boom in 2006-2007 to 1.04% and 0.38% in 2007-2008.