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Growth, diversity, segregation, and aging in America’s largest metropolitan areas: A 2020 census portrait

The nation’s major metropolitan areas—those with populations exceeding 1 million, which are home to nearly six in 10 Americans—have been a focal point of the nation’s economic vibrancy, politics, and racial and ethnic diversity. A deep look at 2020 census results in a new report from Brookings Mountain West provides an opportunity to see how these areas fared in the 2010-2020 decade.

Compared to the prior decade, major metro areas grew more substantially than their smaller-sized counterparts, and their cities showed growth surges—all during a decade when the nation’s population registered historically low growth. Moreover, the increased racial and ethnic diversity that characterized the nation is especially concentrated in major metro areas and, in particular, among their youth populations.

The new report examines 2020 census results to provide a detailed portrait of the nation’s 56 major metro areas in order to better understand their growth, city-suburb population shifts, racial and ethnic diversity, neighborhood segregation, and youth populations. Below is a summary of its major findings.

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