The changing demographics of America
- June 28, 2010
- Jan Brueckner, economics professor, is quoted in Smithsonian Magazine's August 2010 issue
From the online story, June 28, 2010:
Morris Berman, a cultural historian, says America “is running on empty.” But even as the baby boomers age, the population of working and young people is also expected to keep rising, in contrast to most other advanced nations. America’s relatively high fertility rate — the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime — hit 2.1 in 2006, with 4.3 million total births, the highest levels in 45 years, thanks largely to recent immigrants, who tend to have more children than residents whose families have been in the United States for several generations. Moreover, the nation is on the verge of a baby boomlet, when the children of the original boomers have children of their own.... One of the urban legends of the 20th century—espoused by city planners and pundits (and a staple of Hollywood) — is that suburbanites are alienated, autonomous individuals, while city dwellers have a deep connection to their neighborhoods.... But suburban residents express a stronger sense of identity and civic involvement than city dwellers. A recent study by Jan Brueckner, a University of California at Irvine economist, found that density does not, as is often assumed, increase social contact between neighbors or raise overall social involvement; compared with residents of high-density urban cores, people in low-density suburbs were 7 percent more likely to talk to their neighbors and 24 percent more likely to belong to a local club.
For the full story, please visit http://www.smithsonianmag.com/specialsections/40th-anniversary/The-Chang....