According to the scholar Richard Florida, “the great urban revival is ‘over.'” Americans are leaving “luxury” cities like New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago. Joel Kotkin writes at New Geography:
Since 2010, urban inner rings, including central business districts, accounted for barely 10 percent of population growth in the nation’s 53 largest metropolitan areas. More revealing still, the country’s three largest metropolitan areas — New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—are now losing population. Since 2012, suburbs and exurbs, which have seven times as many people as the core, are again growing faster. Suburbs are also seeing a strong net movement among educated people, those earning over $75,000 and especially those between the ages of 30 and 44. Far from being dead, as often asserted in the big city media, a new Harvard study shows that over the past 40 years the periphery has increased its lead in terms of wealth and jobs compared to core cities.
The changing dynamics of millennial migration—long held as the secret sauce powering inner-city revivalism—represent perhaps the most ominous sign of things to come. Dense, high-priced cities, the object of endless love from architectural critics like The New York Times’ Michael Kimmelman, do still attract many talented young people straight from college, but many don’t stay long, and increasingly are seeking out other, less dense and more affordable places. A recent Brookings study shows that New York now suffers the largest net annual outmigration of post-college millennials (ages 25–34) of any metro area, followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Diego. The biggest gains, outside Seattle, have been concentrated in the central and mountain time zones in places like Austin, Dallas, Houston and Denver.
The idea that big luxury cities’ “moment” is over is probably not surprising to you. You probably know exactly why people want to abandon the big cities. High taxes, high cost of living, and crime are not attractive to Americans looking to enjoy their lives.