Anyone who challenges the notionthat the long predicted exodus of people from the suburbs to the city has been wildly overstated is sure to generate some backlash from urban boosters. Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution contends in aNew Republic column that "head counts" better reveal city trends than property trends or the massive condo bust. He points to a Brookings Institution analysis by Bill Frey, entitled "Texas Gains, Suburbs Lose in 2010 Census Review," which compares trends in major cities and suburbs, but offers not a sentence demonstrating any actual population “loss” in suburbs (his point is that their growth rates have declined).
However, Berube has a point. Head counts are the issue. The annual Bureau of the Census "head count" of domestic migration reveals that the suburban to urban core exodus is as elusive as it has ever been. Gross population totals reveal nothing with respect to movements between the suburbs and the core. There is no doubt that core city population trends have improved, and this is a good thing. However, there is not a shred of evidence that suburbanites are picking up and moving to the cores.