Demography and Population Loss from Central Cities, 1950-2000

Posted: 12 Oct 2010 Last revised: 28 Jun 2021

See all articles by Leah Platt Boustan

Leah Platt Boustan

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics

Allison Shertzer

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics

Date Written: October 2010

Abstract

The share of metropolitan residents living in central cities declined dramatically from 1950 to 2000. We argue that cities would have lost even further ground if not for demographic trends such as renewed immigration, delayed child bearing, and a decline in the share of households headed by veterans. We provide causal estimates of the effect of children on residential location using the birth of twins. The effect of veteran status is identified from a discontinuity in the probability of military service during and after the mass mobilization for World War II. Our results suggest that these changes in demographic composition were strong enough to bolster city population but not to fully counteract socio-economic factors favoring suburban growth.

Suggested Citation

Boustan, Leah Platt and Shertzer, Allison, Demography and Population Loss from Central Cities, 1950-2000 (October 2010). NBER Working Paper No. w16435, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1689367

Leah Platt Boustan (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Department of Economics ( email )

Box 951477
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1477
United States

Allison Shertzer

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Economics ( email )

4901 Wesley Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States

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