The current economic downturn forces us to confront America’s ability to compete in a global economy. We expect that the next president and Congress will turn their attention immediately to bolstering our nation’s economic health, and they should focus not just on easing short term pain, but also on setting our nation on a sustainable track for prosperity. The purpose of the Blueprint for American Prosperity is to ensure that our leaders are focused on those assets that drive national prosperity and those places where the assets are overwhelmingly concentrated—America’s 363 metropolitan areas. The Blueprint’s MetroNation report has already made the case for the economic and demographic primacy of metropolitan America in the face of withering global competition. Its companion piece, MetroPolicy, provides an integrated policy agenda to meet that challenge. Simply put, national prosperity hinges on metropolitan prosperity. The strategies below can achieve both.
We Are a MetroNation:
- Metro areas are America: The 100 most populous metropolitan areas range from huge conurbations like New York City and Los Angeles, with 19 million and 12 million residents, respectively, to Lancaster, Pennsylvania and Lansing, Michigan, with populations that don’t quite reach 500,000. Every state in the nation is home to at least one metropolitan area.
- Metro areas are the economy: The 100 largest metropolitan areas generate two-thirds of U.S. jobs and threequarters of the nation’s output.
- Metro areas are society: 65 percent of the population lives in the 100 largest metros, including 85 percent of the nation’s immigrants and 77 percent of its minority residents. They are urban, suburban, and even rural—more than half of all the nation’s rural residents live within the nation’s 363 metropolitan areas.
- Metro areas are the locus of the four drivers of national prosperity: innovation, human capital, infrastructure, and quality places.