Campus News

Franklin College faculty member quoted by Axios

Stephen Mihm, an associate professor in the history department of the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, was quoted by Axios about families migrating out of cities.

According to the news and information website, American cities are becoming more and more unfriendly to families, and new parents are fleeing for the exurbs, where housing is more affordable and schools are better. Cities are increasingly dominated by wealthy, childless residents. The number of residents age 20 and younger has fallen over the last four decades in nearly every big city in the country. The high cost of living within cities affects parents’ ability to pay for schooling. Cities have become barbells, with young, affluent and single people on one end and wealthy empty-nesters on the other. Urban populations are constantly rotating as families move out and make way for newly minted graduates who have disposable income to spend in bars and shops—and drive gentrification.

“You’re seeing [declining birth rates] in the most extreme form in cities,” said Mihm, who is an economic historian. “It’s a window into a larger demographic trend where kids are few and far between. Historically, cities have a hard time surviving, and much less thriving, if they must constantly replenish their populations from outside.”