How Did Reclassification Contribute to the Recent Urban Growth in the US?

Leiwen Jiang , Shanghai University and Population Council
Bryan Jones, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)
Deborah L. Balk, CUNY Institute for Demographic Research (CIDR)
Brian O'Neill, University of Denver

Understanding the demographic determinants of urban growth is fundamental to socioeconomic development plans and to urbanization projection. While literature indicts potentially increasing reclassification along urban transition, empirical studies of relative contribution to urban growth are lacking owing to data limitation. Taking advantage of the recently available spatial data on urban reclassification, this paper explicitly explores the net effects of reclassification on urban population growth in the US during the period 1990-2010. Adopting a multiregional rural-urban projection model, we backcast and decompose the overall urban population changes into natural growth, migratory growth, and reclassifications. Results show a large rang of uncertainty on the relative contribution from reclassification and migration when migration is treated as residual, due to lacking information on the timing of reclassification. This paper presents a first set of results from comprehensive decomposition analysis of urban growth with more careful treatment of the effects of urban reclassification.

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 Presented in Session P3. Poster Session Migration, Economics, Environment, Methods, History and Policy