It is now well known that populations in America's cities generally grew faster from 1990-2010 than they did in the 1980s. The growth distributed across neighborhoods in these cities was based considerably on whether the poor inner-city communities that lost population so dramatically in the 1980s shared in the overall improvement or whether the higher growth rates were found only in areas that were better off to begin with.
In the early 1990s, the prospects for cities, particularly in the rustbelt states, seemed at a low point. Even after evidence of resurgence in some urban neighborhoods later in the decade, there still wasn’t much hope. However, results from the 2000 census, though they do not indicate a dramatic turnaround, they reflect considerable improvement over those of the preceding decade. Among the central cities of the largest metropolitan areas, 49 grew by 5 percent or more in the 1990s. Altogether, the growth rate for these cities increased from 4.5 percent in the 1980s to 7.2 percent in the 1990s.
Research on urban spatial patterns over the past decade has stressed the influence of both poverty levels and race on variations in neighborhood conditions. In the 1990s, there was a consistent relationship between poverty and population change: The higher the poverty rate, the higher the probability of population loss.
Immigration also played a big role in the population growth from 1990-2010. Growth in immigration flows in the past three decades has almost tripled the size of the foreign-born population in the United States. Between 1980 and 2010, the number of immigrants increased from 14 million to 38 million. The rate of growth was fastest in the 1990s, when immigrants increased from 20 million in 1990 to 31 million by 2000. Their numbers continued to increase steadily during the 2000s and reached 38 million in 2010. The foreign-born share of the population has grown as well. In 1980, immigrants represented just 6...