Suburbs Grow in Population While Cities Get Younger

Between 1996 and 2000, the National Public Health and Hospital Institute, Washington, and the New York Academy of Medicine, New York, developed and disseminated a report comparing the social health status of people living in the nation's 100 largest cities with those living in the surrounding suburbs.

It built upon a 1995 project (see Program Results Report on ID# 022724) profiling similar data for cities alone.

Key Findings

  • Researchers at the National Public Health and Hospital Institute published The Social and Health Landscape of Urban and Suburban America in 1999. The findings included:

    • Population growth in suburbs surpassed growth in central cities, but cities have greater rates of increase in the proportion of the population that is very young.
    • Many cities have reduced rates of tuberculosis, syphilis, and AIDS since the 1995 study.
    • A significant association of child poverty and low birth weight with violence and minority female-headed households was found in cities but not in counties.
    • Suburbs increasingly have the diversity of black, Hispanic, and foreign-born populations once attributed only to cities.
    • Central cities generally led their counties in either reducing or holding steady violent crime rates.
    • There was a significant drop in hospital discharges and a moderate decline in emergency room use in the 1990s for central city public hospitals, and a surge in discharges in for-profit hospitals in both cities and suburbs.
    • Community health centers continued to focus on vulnerable populations, and local urban health departments offered a broad range of critical screening services.