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This Note reports on the state of American suburbs, with special concern for the problems of declining suburbs. It is an exploratory study using data on the financial, economic, social, and demographic characteristics from many individual suburbs. It includes data on recent patterns of income and population growth in suburbs. Section II provides a historical review of the evolution of U.S. suburbs, a characterization of these suburbs and a comparison of them with central cities and nonmetropolitan cities, and a brief review of hypotheses found in the literature about troubled suburbs. Section III describes the design of the study and the data sources. Sections IV, V, and VI describe and analyze the data. Section VII gives the conclusions of the research, discusses policy implications, and describes a prospective research agenda.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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