People who travel across the United States may notice that some of our cities are vibrant and growing, but also costly, while others are shrinking and struggling, yet very inexpensive. N.C. State University economist Mike Walden discusses new research into those differences.
“We have some new research that’s been published recently in the very prestigious American Economic Review that looked at the 270 largest metropolitan areas in the United States over the last 50 years, and the authors noticed some distinct differences. They did find … some metropolitan areas that struggled long term— probably the best example recently has been Detroit — but they found other metropolitan areas that have improved dramatically.
“For example, they continue to see housing prices going up, and the distinguishing part for those cities — the distinguishing driving feature — seems to be the ability to attract high-income households.
“So those cities that are attracting high-income households at high rates, that are vibrant, that have strong housing markets, these authors have labeled ‘superstar’ cities.
“And who are these cities, or what are the cities? Well, in this category, the authors say, would be cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston and, interestingly …, in our state, Charlotte. Charlotte has been labeled by these authors as a superstar city.
“So these are cities that are on the move, that are growing, that are really outshining every other city. The are indeed superstar cities.”