The Demographic Shift in Metropolitan America

Sam Rainer

June 1, 2009

It’s clear that many churches have experienced or will experience large changes in their communities and contexts in the near future. Studying these changes helps churches develop intentional outward strategies to reach people. The Brookings Institution recently uncovered shifts in American demographics and reveals future changes in metro areas. They pulled data from a variety of U.S. Census Bureau sources and examined several population trends currently reshaping Metropolitan America. Here’s a few examples from their report:

Migration. People moving across state lines to different metro areas has slowed considerably since the 1990s and early 2000s. This slowed movement correlates with the housing bust.


Immigration. Both the source and destination of the foreign-born U.S. population has undergone major shifts in the last several decades. In 1970, only 30% of the foreign-born population came from Latin America and Asia. Today that number is 80%. The new destination for this influx of people is the Southeast, including the metro areas of Raleigh, NC; Nashville, TN; and Atlanta, GA.


Aging. The massive growth of aging boomers will occur in areas unaccustomed to housing older people, specifically in the suburbs of metro areas. Some of the cities with the fastest “graying” areas: Raleigh, NC; Austin, TX; Atlanta, GA; and Boise, ID. Some of the regions projected to gray the fastest: Mountain West, Texas, and the Southeast.



Read the full report here.

(HT: Ed Stetzer)

4 comments on “The Demographic Shift in Metropolitan America”

  1. kdb1411 says:

    Fascinating information. Thanks!

  2. lindy says:

    This is really interesting, Sam… Thanks for this!

  3. Thom Rainer says:

    Good post Sam. I am having difficulty being referred to as an “aging boomer.” I guess I better get used it to it!

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