San Jose and St. Louis in the 1960s

A Case Study of Changing Urban Populations

by Peter A. Morrison

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Analyzes rapid demographic change in settings of population growth (San Jose) and decline (St. Louis). San Jose's population is youthful and chronically migratory as a result of past growth, and its natural increase and migratory flow-through are likely to continue at unusually high levels. The labor force can probably accommodate quickly to changes in demand. St. Louis's population decline exemplifies the dilemma faced by localities undergoing severe out-migration. As young adults leave, the population's replacement capacity dwindles and the city remains responsible for a disproportionate number of older, needy residents who stay. Eventually, population decline acquires its own dynamic as death rates exceed birth rates. The contrasting demographic trends in San Jose and St. Louis point up a vexing discord between the well-being of people and that of the places they choose to live in or leave.

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