Lately, it seems like there have been a lot of going away parties for friends leaving New York to escape the high cost of living or to find jobs elsewhere. But maybe that’s just me. Yesterday, the Census Bureau released figures from 2007-2008 showing a surge in new residents in New York, as well as in other cities.
According to the new data, New York continued to be the nation’s most populous city, with 8.4 million residents, twice the population of Los Angeles, which ranked second at 3.8 million. Then came Chicago, with 2.9 million, Houston (2.2 million) and Phoenix (1.6 million). New York also led in numerical increase of population, adding more than 53,000 residents, while Chicago boasted its second straight year of population increase after five consecutive years of decline. New Orleans leads the growth percentage of US cities between 2007-2008 with 8.2 percent, faster than any other large city, though it hasn’t yet reached pre-Katrina population levels. Four cities made it to the top 10 in Texas, including Round Rock, the second fastest-growing city (8.16 percent) in the nation during that period.
Since people’s mobility is directly related to job opportunities, it is safe to assume that the numbers might have changed significantly during the past year. Certainly there must have been a population shift—a decrease in international young professionals, like my friends—though, obviously, other people cannot afford to move at all. Environmental awareness might also play a role in people’s choice to stay in the city. After all, isn’t suburbia becoming a synonym for unsustainable?