Demographic Change in Medium-Sized Cities: Evidence from the 2000 Census

Analyses of 2000 Census data have revealed dramatic demographic changes in big-city America during the 1990s, stimulating a national conversation about what these shifts might portend. A more complete understanding of urban growth dynamics requires a look beyond only the nation’s largest cities, however. This survey examines population trends in 100 medium-sized cities – both traditional ‘central cities’ and those that are ‘satellites’ to larger cities in their region. It reveals that they, too, are experiencing significant change: Some are losing population, while others are coping with extreme growth; nearly all are more racially and ethnically diverse than a decade ago. The competitiveness of these smaller cities in the years ahead hinges on how well they are able to confront the challenges, and exploit the opportunities, these changes present.