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The 'clean break' revisited: is US population again deconcentrating?

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Abstract

The Hoover index, calculated across counties and larger spatial units, is again declining -- signalling a renewal of population deconcentration in the United States. After increasing for several decades, the index declined in the 1970s when nonmetropolitan population growth surged past metropolitan-area growth, but the index rose in the 1980s as metropolitan population growth recovered and surpassed nonmetropolitan growth. We update these trends, introducing careful controls for changes in metropolitan-area boundaries, and we incorporate a 'functional urban region' approach. Although the nonmetropolitan population growth rate is still below the metropolitan rate, we conclude that in the 1990s some features of the 'turnaround' of the 1970s have returned.

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