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View Poll Results: What cities in the poll in 1950, were leaders of the US in terms of the following, but today are a s
Boston, MA 1 1.39%
New York City, NY 1 1.39%
Newark, NJ 0 0%
Hartford, CT 0 0%
Providence, RI 0 0%
Buffalo, NY 4 5.56%
Rochester, NY 2 2.78%
Erie, PA 0 0%
Pittsburgh, PA 2 2.78%
Philadelphia, PA 1 1.39%
Baltimore, MD 1 1.39%
Syracuse, NY 0 0%
Albany, NY 0 0%
Cleveland, OH 7 9.72%
Cincinnati, OH 2 2.78%
Detroit, MI 32 44.44%
Grand Rapids, MI 0 0%
Chicago, IL 3 4.17%
Milwaukee, WI 0 0%
St Louis, MO 10 13.89%
Kansas City, MO 1 1.39%
Toledo, OH 0 0%
Akron, OH 0 0%
Dayton, OH 0 0%
Denver, CO 0 0%
Albuquerque, NM 0 0%
Las Vegas, NV 0 0%
Oklahoma City, OK 1 1.39%
San Francisco, CA 0 0%
Omaha, NE 0 0%
New Orleans, LA 1 1.39%
Minneapolis, MN 0 0%
Memphis, TN 2 2.78%
Atlanta, GA 0 0%
Birmingham, AL 1 1.39%
Voters: 72. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-01-2019, 11:20 PM
 
3,659 posts, read 3,184,371 times
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Some time in the last couple years I created a spreadsheet comparing growth rates of certain metro areas. I was curious about something similar but I think it applies here. Most of the work had been done already there were only a few cities that I had to add. I used the 2016 estimates, and the 2013 metro alignment (by county). (EDIT: The numbers for New Orleans are wrong. I'll try and correct tomorrow)

Here is a link to the historical populations metropolitan areas: https://www.peakbagger.com/pbgeog/histmetropop.aspx
You'll see they differ from my numbers. I couldn't find 1950 metropolitan numbers for all of the cities listed so I had to create a common baseline using the modern day alignment. In 1950 St. Louis was ranked 8th largest, Cleveland 9th, and Pittsburgh 10th. Many suburban counties in the 2016 numbers would not have been considered part of the 1950 cities, so you'll notice that they don't line up using the 2016 baseline of current MSA counties.

I only selected cities from the list that potentially may have lost influence. I didn't bother with places like New York, Chicago, Philly ect. It seems unlikely they would be a realistic part of this discussion. Since this thread is about influence we need to consider more than just numbers, but I think it's a good place to start.



I think the easiest pick for most people is to default to Detroit (as the voting results reflect). Detroit is a sexy pick for these types of polls. It's the poster child for decline. That decline has been limited almost exclusively to the political boundaries that define the city of Detroit. The greater Detroit area peaked in 1970, but since the 1980 census it has oscilated between growth and decline. In 1950 Detroit was the 5th largest metropolitan area, it has dropped to 13th. Detroit is still the global leader in Automotive, and has transitioned from a manufacturing center to a corporate center. While it has definitely lost a significant amount influence, I don't see how it has lost more influence than some of these other cities.

Cities to consider:

Pittsburgh: The only metro to have lost population since 1950. Pittsburgh has made great strides into transforming economically, it is currently still slowly losing population. Pittsburgh was the 10th largest metro in 1950, to being out of the top 25. The 10th largest metro, is going to have a significant amount more influence than the 26th largest. I think that's something that should be considered.

Buffalo: Buffalo(metro) is virtually unchanged since 1950. In recent years population estimates are showing growth in Buffalo. Buffalo was the 16th largest metro in 1950. It is currently ranked as the 49th largest metro, it's economy is ranked 51st. Buffalo may have lost more influence than any other city.

Cleveland: Cleveland's metro area has declined every decade since it peaked in 1970. Cleveland was the 9th largest metro in 1950, it is ranked 33rd now. I do think that ranking is a little skewed by some of it's urban area being statistically seperated. Even if the questionable areas are added back in Cleveland would not rank in the top 20. I feel that Cleveland falling from a top 10 metro, no longer being in the top 30, combined with a continual decline in population, means it has lost more influence than Detroit.

St. Louis: St Louis metro area has grown continually. It has not grown fast enough to stop St Louis from losing significant influence. St Louis was ranked 8th in 1950, it is ranked 21st now. I think St. Louis benefits from relative stability in its metro growth and has not lost as much influence as the above cities.

Milwaukee: Might seem odd to put Milwaukee here. It's had relative stable but slow population growth at both a city and metro level. IMO what influence Milwaukee had in 1950 has been eclipsed by Chicago in present day. Not to say Milwaukee has no influence(whatever that means). It feels that as Chicago's orbit expanded, Milwaukee's orbit has shrank quite a bit from where it had been, back when the two cities were more separated.

Providence: Same reason as Milwaukee though perhaps more so. Aside from it's slower growth rates Providence seems to have slipped completely within the orbit of Boston, and perhaps New York. Really it depends on how much influence Providence had to begin with, perhaps a lower starting point makes up for the loss in current times?

Last edited by mjlo; 02-01-2019 at 11:30 PM..
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Old 02-01-2019, 11:51 PM
 
Location: Nashville, TN
4,583 posts, read 3,623,079 times
Reputation: 3258
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Some time in the last couple years I created a spreadsheet comparing growth rates of certain metro areas. I was curious about something similar but I think it applies here. Most of the work had been done already there were only a few cities that I had to add. I used the 2016 estimates, and the 2013 metro alignment (by county). (EDIT: The numbers for New Orleans are wrong. I'll try and correct tomorrow)

Here is a link to the historical populations metropolitan areas: https://www.peakbagger.com/pbgeog/histmetropop.aspx
You'll see they differ from my numbers. I couldn't find 1950 metropolitan numbers for all of the cities listed so I had to create a common baseline using the modern day alignment. In 1950 St. Louis was ranked 8th largest, Cleveland 9th, and Pittsburgh 10th. Many suburban counties in the 2016 numbers would not have been considered part of the 1950 cities, so you'll notice that they don't line up using the 2016 baseline of current MSA counties.

I only selected cities from the list that potentially may have lost influence. I didn't bother with places like New York, Chicago, Philly ect. It seems unlikely they would be a realistic part of this discussion. Since this thread is about influence we need to consider more than just numbers, but I think it's a good place to start.



I think the easiest pick for most people is to default to Detroit (as the voting results reflect). Detroit is a sexy pick for these types of polls. It's the poster child for decline. That decline has been limited almost exclusively to the political boundaries that define the city of Detroit. The greater Detroit area peaked in 1970, but since the 1980 census it has oscilated between growth and decline. In 1950 Detroit was the 5th largest metropolitan area, it has dropped to 13th. Detroit is still the global leader in Automotive, and has transitioned from a manufacturing center to a corporate center. While it has definitely lost a significant amount influence, I don't see how it has lost more influence than some of these other cities.

Cities to consider:

Pittsburgh: The only metro to have lost population since 1950. Pittsburgh has made great strides into transforming economically, it is currently still slowly losing population. Pittsburgh was the 10th largest metro in 1950, to being out of the top 25. The 10th largest metro, is going to have a significant amount more influence than the 26th largest. I think that's something that should be considered.

Buffalo: Buffalo(metro) is virtually unchanged since 1950. In recent years population estimates are showing growth in Buffalo. Buffalo was the 16th largest metro in 1950. It is currently ranked as the 49th largest metro, it's economy is ranked 51st. Buffalo may have lost more influence than any other city.

Cleveland: Cleveland's metro area has declined every decade since it peaked in 1970. Cleveland was the 9th largest metro in 1950, it is ranked 33rd now. I do think that ranking is a little skewed by some of it's urban area being statistically seperated. Even if the questionable areas are added back in Cleveland would not rank in the top 20. I feel that Cleveland falling from a top 10 metro, no longer being in the top 30, combined with a continual decline in population, means it has lost more influence than Detroit.

St. Louis: St Louis metro area has grown continually. It has not grown fast enough to stop St Louis from losing significant influence. St Louis was ranked 8th in 1950, it is ranked 21st now. I think St. Louis benefits from relative stability in its metro growth and has not lost as much influence as the above cities.

Milwaukee: Might seem odd to put Milwaukee here. It's had relative stable but slow population growth at both a city and metro level. IMO what influence Milwaukee had in 1950 has been eclipsed by Chicago in present day. Not to say Milwaukee has no influence(whatever that means). It feels that as Chicago's orbit expanded, Milwaukee's orbit has shrank quite a bit from where it had been, back when the two cities were more separated.

Providence: Same reason as Milwaukee though perhaps more so. Aside from it's slower growth rates Providence seems to have slipped completely within the orbit of Boston, and perhaps New York. Really it depends on how much influence Providence had to begin with, perhaps a lower starting point makes up for the loss in current times?
Thanks for compiling the list! It really puts into perspective the changes that have occurred for these cities. I would add Louisville to cities that have lost influence. At one time Louisville was one of the largest cities in the South and an urban center for trade, transportation, and commerce. While Louisville never experienced a major decline like some of the other cities, it is interesting how other/former peers have passed the city in influence. It is also interesting that Detroit receives major underdog status from posters. They are always saying how Detroit will come back and is experiencing growth (I'm rooting for Detroit) while cities like St. Louis and Memphis have very negative stigmas with very little to no support.
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Old Yesterday, 01:04 AM
 
651 posts, read 390,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Marcinkiewicz View Post
Like you I wasn't [close to being] alive in 1950, but my paternal grandfather was a foreman at Bethlehem Steel in Lackawanna, NY (just outside of Buffalo), and there are stories told on my dad's side of the family not just about the undesirable conditions of the plant itself, but also how soot and other industrial byproducts would be found at the family home a mile or so away. I'm not sure when benzene became known to be a carcinogen, but I'm going to guess it was an issue back then, regardless of public (or expert) awareness. Wouldn't have wanted to live downwind from Bethlehem or Republic Steel, the latter of which was located in Buffalo city limits.

Wherever there is coke, steel, etc, there is mercury.
The Age of Steam wasn't a healthy time in urban America.
Look at this one taken about where Boston's TD Garden sits today
looking southward toward what is today, the Central Artery Tunnel
and Rose Kennedy Greenway.... the heart of what at that time,
was one of the densest industrial neighborhoods in the world.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DZH22 View Post
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Old Yesterday, 03:26 AM
 
54,142 posts, read 77,624,133 times
Reputation: 11938
Quote:
Originally Posted by MarketStEl View Post
IMO the OP should have made this multiple-choice.

A number of the cities on that list I would consider "second tier" or "third tier" in terms of national influence, but were clearly influential in specialized areas and have lost much of their luster with the decline of the companies that made them noteworthy.

Perhaps chief among these is Rochester, N.Y., birthplace of both Eastman Kodak Company and Haloid (now Xerox) Corporation and still home to the former. Both companies were caught flat-footed by major changes that shook their industries to the core and have never completely recovered. Nor has the city that nurtured them.
A lot of the talent from these companies have just started newer, smaller companies and the metro area has never lost population in an official census. So, there was a shift in terms of the talent and where people live in the area.
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Old Yesterday, 03:36 AM
 
54,142 posts, read 77,624,133 times
Reputation: 11938
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Some time in the last couple years I created a spreadsheet comparing growth rates of certain metro areas. I was curious about something similar but I think it applies here. Most of the work had been done already there were only a few cities that I had to add. I used the 2016 estimates, and the 2013 metro alignment (by county). (EDIT: The numbers for New Orleans are wrong. I'll try and correct tomorrow)

Here is a link to the historical populations metropolitan areas: https://www.peakbagger.com/pbgeog/histmetropop.aspx
You'll see they differ from my numbers. I couldn't find 1950 metropolitan numbers for all of the cities listed so I had to create a common baseline using the modern day alignment. In 1950 St. Louis was ranked 8th largest, Cleveland 9th, and Pittsburgh 10th. Many suburban counties in the 2016 numbers would not have been considered part of the 1950 cities, so you'll notice that they don't line up using the 2016 baseline of current MSA counties.

I only selected cities from the list that potentially may have lost influence. I didn't bother with places like New York, Chicago, Philly ect. It seems unlikely they would be a realistic part of this discussion. Since this thread is about influence we need to consider more than just numbers, but I think it's a good place to start.



I think the easiest pick for most people is to default to Detroit (as the voting results reflect). Detroit is a sexy pick for these types of polls. It's the poster child for decline. That decline has been limited almost exclusively to the political boundaries that define the city of Detroit. The greater Detroit area peaked in 1970, but since the 1980 census it has oscilated between growth and decline. In 1950 Detroit was the 5th largest metropolitan area, it has dropped to 13th. Detroit is still the global leader in Automotive, and has transitioned from a manufacturing center to a corporate center. While it has definitely lost a significant amount influence, I don't see how it has lost more influence than some of these other cities.

Cities to consider:

Pittsburgh: The only metro to have lost population since 1950. Pittsburgh has made great strides into transforming economically, it is currently still slowly losing population. Pittsburgh was the 10th largest metro in 1950, to being out of the top 25. The 10th largest metro, is going to have a significant amount more influence than the 26th largest. I think that's something that should be considered.

Buffalo: Buffalo(metro) is virtually unchanged since 1950. In recent years population estimates are showing growth in Buffalo. Buffalo was the 16th largest metro in 1950. It is currently ranked as the 49th largest metro, it's economy is ranked 51st. Buffalo may have lost more influence than any other city.

Cleveland: Cleveland's metro area has declined every decade since it peaked in 1970. Cleveland was the 9th largest metro in 1950, it is ranked 33rd now. I do think that ranking is a little skewed by some of it's urban area being statistically seperated. Even if the questionable areas are added back in Cleveland would not rank in the top 20. I feel that Cleveland falling from a top 10 metro, no longer being in the top 30, combined with a continual decline in population, means it has lost more influence than Detroit.

St. Louis: St Louis metro area has grown continually. It has not grown fast enough to stop St Louis from losing significant influence. St Louis was ranked 8th in 1950, it is ranked 21st now. I think St. Louis benefits from relative stability in its metro growth and has not lost as much influence as the above cities.

Milwaukee: Might seem odd to put Milwaukee here. It's had relative stable but slow population growth at both a city and metro level. IMO what influence Milwaukee had in 1950 has been eclipsed by Chicago in present day. Not to say Milwaukee has no influence(whatever that means). It feels that as Chicago's orbit expanded, Milwaukee's orbit has shrank quite a bit from where it had been, back when the two cities were more separated.

Providence: Same reason as Milwaukee though perhaps more so. Aside from it's slower growth rates Providence seems to have slipped completely within the orbit of Boston, and perhaps New York. Really it depends on how much influence Providence had to begin with, perhaps a lower starting point makes up for the loss in current times?
Albany is a metro of roughly 870,000 and may actually be further down the list.
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Old Yesterday, 04:41 AM
 
Location: Germantown, Philadelphia
4,101 posts, read 1,992,237 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ckhthankgod View Post
A lot of the talent from these companies have just started newer, smaller companies and the metro area has never lost population in an official census. So, there was a shift in terms of the talent and where people live in the area.
Interesting.

Forgot one other thing about Rochester:

It's also the birthplace of the Gannett Co., the nation's largest newspaper chain. The chain's original newspaper is the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.

And it's the only city in the country to have opened a subway (in 1927) and shut it down (in 1956).
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Old Yesterday, 05:32 AM
 
1,413 posts, read 598,102 times
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Detroit.
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Old Yesterday, 10:09 AM
 
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Globally, Cleveland. Nationally, Detroit.
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Old Yesterday, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Boston
1,403 posts, read 974,239 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpomp View Post
A good amount of that list fell hard on times at some point, but many of them have bounced back, while others got lost in the shuffle.

St. Louis is probably one of the most obvious choices, followed by any mid-sized rust belt city.

The largest city on that list that fell hard was Philadelphia, but its doing a good job at picking itself back up (a little slower than Boston and NYC).

But everything goes in phases and trends, the hot cities of today may not be the same by 2100. The only US cities that have remained influential / top economic producers since the beginning of the US are New York Boston and Philadelphia.

Other cities have been influential for most of their lifetime (Chicago), but they are not as old.
Economically and culturally Boston fell off from 1930-1980 and rally only began picking back up to what it is now about 20-25 years ago. Boston in the 50s-70s was backwater compared to Detroit.

Detroit Cleveland St Louis and Buffalo have fallen off the most.
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Old Yesterday, 10:36 AM
 
Location: Boston
1,403 posts, read 974,239 times
Reputation: 1378
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Some time in the last couple years I created a spreadsheet comparing growth rates of certain metro areas. I was curious about something similar but I think it applies here. Most of the work had been done already there were only a few cities that I had to add. I used the 2016 estimates, and the 2013 metro alignment (by county). (EDIT: The numbers for New Orleans are wrong. I'll try and correct tomorrow)

Here is a link to the historical populations metropolitan areas: https://www.peakbagger.com/pbgeog/histmetropop.aspx
You'll see they differ from my numbers. I couldn't find 1950 metropolitan numbers for all of the cities listed so I had to create a common baseline using the modern day alignment. In 1950 St. Louis was ranked 8th largest, Cleveland 9th, and Pittsburgh 10th. Many suburban counties in the 2016 numbers would not have been considered part of the 1950 cities, so you'll notice that they don't line up using the 2016 baseline of current MSA counties.

I only selected cities from the list that potentially may have lost influence. I didn't bother with places like New York, Chicago, Philly ect. It seems unlikely they would be a realistic part of this discussion. Since this thread is about influence we need to consider more than just numbers, but I think it's a good place to start.



I think the easiest pick for most people is to default to Detroit (as the voting results reflect). Detroit is a sexy pick for these types of polls. It's the poster child for decline. That decline has been limited almost exclusively to the political boundaries that define the city of Detroit. The greater Detroit area peaked in 1970, but since the 1980 census it has oscilated between growth and decline. In 1950 Detroit was the 5th largest metropolitan area, it has dropped to 13th. Detroit is still the global leader in Automotive, and has transitioned from a manufacturing center to a corporate center. While it has definitely lost a significant amount influence, I don't see how it has lost more influence than some of these other cities.

Cities to consider:

Pittsburgh: The only metro to have lost population since 1950. Pittsburgh has made great strides into transforming economically, it is currently still slowly losing population. Pittsburgh was the 10th largest metro in 1950, to being out of the top 25. The 10th largest metro, is going to have a significant amount more influence than the 26th largest. I think that's something that should be considered.

Buffalo: Buffalo(metro) is virtually unchanged since 1950. In recent years population estimates are showing growth in Buffalo. Buffalo was the 16th largest metro in 1950. It is currently ranked as the 49th largest metro, it's economy is ranked 51st. Buffalo may have lost more influence than any other city.

Cleveland: Cleveland's metro area has declined every decade since it peaked in 1970. Cleveland was the 9th largest metro in 1950, it is ranked 33rd now. I do think that ranking is a little skewed by some of it's urban area being statistically seperated. Even if the questionable areas are added back in Cleveland would not rank in the top 20. I feel that Cleveland falling from a top 10 metro, no longer being in the top 30, combined with a continual decline in population, means it has lost more influence than Detroit.

St. Louis: St Louis metro area has grown continually. It has not grown fast enough to stop St Louis from losing significant influence. St Louis was ranked 8th in 1950, it is ranked 21st now. I think St. Louis benefits from relative stability in its metro growth and has not lost as much influence as the above cities.

Milwaukee: Might seem odd to put Milwaukee here. It's had relative stable but slow population growth at both a city and metro level. IMO what influence Milwaukee had in 1950 has been eclipsed by Chicago in present day. Not to say Milwaukee has no influence(whatever that means). It feels that as Chicago's orbit expanded, Milwaukee's orbit has shrank quite a bit from where it had been, back when the two cities were more separated.

Providence: Same reason as Milwaukee though perhaps more so. Aside from it's slower growth rates Providence seems to have slipped completely within the orbit of Boston, and perhaps New York. Really it depends on how much influence Providence had to begin with, perhaps a lower starting point makes up for the loss in current times?
From what I understand Providence has always been a part of the Boston Prbit. It was stronger economically but it went through Identical periods of decline with Boston and has been rising (albeit not like Boston at al) since the early 1990s. It’s too small, similar, and close to Boston to be entirely it’s own.

Within New England you could make a better argument for Hartford having fallen off, especially since the 1980s.
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