Portland Experiences Large Loss in
Central City Market Share
Despite "Smart Growth"

The Portland-Salem metropolitan area, in which the nation’s most restrictive land use policies (‘smart growth’ policies) are in effect, has experienced one of the largest central city market share declines in the nation in the 1990s.

According to an analysis of data released by the US Census Bureau, the central cities of Portland-Salem constituted 32.8 percent of the metropolitan area population in 1998, down from 36.6 percent in 1990. This represents a market share decline of 10.0 percent. Only five of the nation’s 48 metropolitan areas with more than 1,000,000 population in 1998 lost a greater share in relation to their suburbs (Orlando, Cincinnati-Hamilton, St. Louis, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Washington-Baltimore and Atlanta).

On average, central cities in the 48 metropolitan areas accounted for 36.0 percent of their respective metropolitan area population in 1998, down 5.42 percent from the 38.1 percent figure in 1990.

Only one of the metropolitan areas experienced a central city population share increase over the period. The city of Las Vegas gained from 30.4 percent of the metropolitan area in 1990 to 30.6 percent in 1998, an increase of 0.76 percent.

Seattle-Tacoma-Bremerton, which has been unfavorably compared to Portland by “smart growth” advocates, ranked 28th in central city population market share change, falling 7.93 percent from 1990 to 1998. This compares to Portland’s 42nd ranking.

Atlanta ranked last, with a 19.01 percent central city share loss.


US Metropolitan Areas over 1m in 1998: Ranked by Central City Share from 1990

Index: US Metropolitan Areas: 1990-1998 Central City and Suburban Population

Planning & Transport: Portland & Atlanta (Perception of Portland Superiority Mistaken)

Planning & Transport: Portland & Seattle (Perception of Portland Superiority Mistaken)

Index: Portland

(c) 2000 --- Wendell Cox Consultancy --- Permission granted to use with attribution.
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