property management, real estate

New report shows urban ‘donut’ shifting

The long-standing urban-suburban divide in education, income, race and other characteristics is being turned on its head as college-educated Millennials crowd into U.S. cities, new research shows.

Putting urban neighborhoods under a microscope, a University of Virginia researcher has concluded that the traditional urban “donut” pattern — a ring of thriving suburbs surrounding a decaying city center — is being replaced by a new pattern: a thriving urban core surrounded by a ring of suburbs with older housing, older residents and more poverty.

USATODAY – Greg Toppo

“For most cities, the downtown was the poorest, least educated place” a generation or two ago, said Luke Juday, a research and policy analyst at U.Va.’s Weldon Cooper Center Demographics Research Group. Now, he said, it’s the opposite. Call it a “new donut,” he suggested.

In findings released Tuesday, Juday found that in the USA’s 50 largest metropolitan and a handful of others, Census data from 1990 through 2012 showed striking changes. Among them:

• Since 1990, urban downtowns and central neighborhoods have attracted “significantly more” young, educated, high-income residents. In central Charlotte, for instance, the percentage of adults with a four-year college degree rose from 20% to 52%.

• In most cities, areas outside the urban core now show a decrease in income and education levels, with poverty growing significantly as well.

• Most growth in housing and population continues to come at the outer edges of cities. Residents of “outer ring” suburbs tend to be more educated and have higher incomes; they’re also likely to be older.

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The skyline of downtown Charlotte, N.C., is shown in


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