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Report

Who Sprawls Most? How Growth Patterns Differ Across the U.S.

William Fulton, Rolf Pendall, Mai Nguyen, and Alicia Harrison

This is the first national study to measure the consumption of land for urbanization compared to population change for every U.S. metropolitan area. It finds that, contrary to conventional wisdom, the West is home to some of the densest metropolitan areas in the nation. By contrast, the Northeast and Midwest are in some ways the nation’s biggest sprawl problems because their metropolitan areas added few new residents, but consumed large amounts of land. The report also examines variables associated with sprawl, density, and urbanization, and finds for example, that, all else being equal, metropolitan areas with large shares of foreign-born residents have higher densities and sprawl less.

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