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  #1  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 10:58 PM
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What if Los Angeles became the largest city in the US?

This was an idea that got me thinking from the recent NYC thread. I read an article last night discussing how New York was able to maintain its dominance of the most populous city since the colonial era. I’ll place a link later but essentially it came down to it being an excellent major port compared to its peers, an early diverse manufacturing base, and an atmosphere of tolerance, change, and reinventing itself. It was pretty much the only Northern city that survived and thrived in during the suburban craze in the late 20th century.


In the peak of American urbanism in the 1950s or so, most of the largest cities in the country were in the Northeast and Midwest. Fast forward to now, many of the top cities and metros are now in the West and South. Only New York, Chicago, and Philly are still up there but only NYC is bigger now than it was then.


There was an 80s article in the other thread that mentioned that LA was expected to exceed NY in population by 2000. What if that happened? Would things drastically change? Would that be seen as just icing on the cake for the success of the Sunbelt?

Yeah, city proper populations don’t matter as much as the metro size, but there is a pride that is associated with being “big” that we can’t necessarily deny in our dick measuring addicted society But this thread can also consider the possibility of the LA metro also being more populous than the NYC tri-state area.
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  #2  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:13 PM
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I don't think it would really change much. New York would still be New York and being smaller in population wouldn't really diminish its prominence.
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:16 PM
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It will never pass the city population. But the metro populations are definitely in play. It's very likley LA will pass the NYC metro, wether it's in our lifetimes or not, barring some massive earthquake.

However, I don't think much would change because its so isolated. NYC is in a perfect location to maintain it's dominance in many areas. But it's going to be interesting to see LA grow up though.

It's astonishing a place like this got built, when you fly out west over hundreds of miles of NOTHING to get there.
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:24 PM
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Originally Posted by LA21st View Post
It will never pass the city population. But the metro populations are definitely in play. It's very likley LA will pass the NYC metro, wether it's in our lifetimes or not, barring some massive earthquake.

However, I don't think much would change because its so isolated. NYC is in a perfect location to maintain it's dominance in many areas. But it's going to be interesting to see LA grow up though.

It's astonishing a place like this got built, when you fly out west over hundreds of miles of NOTHING to get there.
A more interesting question will be whether the Texas metros of DFW and Houston pass LA and Chicago over the next 30 years. Or whether they will hit a growth plateau like LA has (i.e., grow more slowly). And how big will Austin metro get; whether it will surpass all Midwestern metros except Chicago.
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:27 PM
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I don't see that happening at all, ever. At least for LA. In 30 years?

Dallas and Houston would have to hit 20 million, at least. They're going to more than double in size in 30 years? How much have they grown since 1990? 3 million?
They will definitely plateu well, well before that.
     
     
  #6  
Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:39 PM
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So much can change in 30 years. People thought Detroit was going to continue to boom and become one of the world's biggest cities up through the 1950s. I don't think anyone in 1950 thought the Atlanta or Miami metro areas would be bigger than Boston or Philadelphia in just a few decades time. It's impossible to know what will happen.

I do think water availability is going to come into play more and more in coming decades. Many western metros are on very shaky ground when it comes to water resources, and extended period of droughts could definitely shift growth patterns. Of course, a major earthquake could also change everything overnight. It's fun to play the 'what if' game, but there are just so many unknowns that it's not very productive.
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:44 PM
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Houston was at 3.3 million in 1990 and is 7 million today while Dallas was 3.8 million in 1990 and is around 7.5 million today. I don't see Houston or DFW ever passing LA but I could see one or both of them surpassing Chicago within 30 years.
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 18, 2019, 11:47 PM
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Eh, I don't see it. Houston and Dallas will go grow by 12-14 million after their boom only produced 3-4 million in the same period of time?

What infrastructure do they have can even support that?
Seems like wishful thinking. These southern cities boomed
Because of col. It wasn't that unrealistic.

I've heard DC posters say Washington and Baltimore metro could
Pass la metro . How?
La was always built to be a mega city. So was NYC.
To a lesser degree, Chicago.

Last edited by LA21st; Oct 19, 2019 at 12:00 AM.
     
     
  #9  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 12:02 AM
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LA, for a while now, has had slow growth, and has detached from the Sunbelt model of growth. The fringe isn't growing much anymore. The Sunbelt boomed due to weather, low cost, govt. subsidy (esp. military) and Mexican immigration. Really only the weather is relevant to LA now. It has the same advantages (and disadvantages) of the high-cost slow-growth metros.

I think LA will continue to grow, but slowly, and doubt it will be the largest U.S. metro in the next century, if ever. LA is already freaking huge. 18-19 million people by CSA. I cannot imagine 30 million people in LA.

Dallas and Houston, eventually will slow down. After a certain size, it's very difficult to grow, because costs skyrocket, congestion increases and some smaller, cheaper city will draw the working class. Dallas is at nearly 8 million now. Dallas will probably surpass Chicago, but I can't see it doubling in size in my lifetime.

Also, the U.S. is different than other countries in that you don't need to be in a major city for access to good jobs, good schools, culture, etc. If you're in, say, France, there's Paris and everywhere else feels like the boondocks. So people will put up with higher prices, greater congestion, etc. In the U.S., people just move somewhere else.
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by LA21st View Post
Eh, I don't see it. Houston and Dallas will go grow by 12-14 million after their boom only produced 3-4 million in the same period of time?

What infrastructure do they have can even support that?
Seems like wishful thinking.

La was always built to be a mega city.
Yep, also just basic geography. LA has a good port on the Pacific for direct trade with Asia that doesn't have to go through the canal, a time zone that is more convenient for Asian clients, great weather. Neither Houston not Dallas have the stupendous location, access or infrastructure that could make them into megacities.

Houston, in particular, is ignoring the waving red flag that is Harris County. If domestic migration has reversed in your city's main county with people fleeing to the exurbs and growth barely sustained by natural increase... well, 1950s Midwest has a story to tell.

https://kinder.rice.edu/2018/04/10/h...ris-county-not

https://kinder.rice.edu/urbanedge/20...-county-growth
     
     
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Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 12:24 AM
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At current growth rates, Dallas would overtake L.A. in the 2070 census. I could theoretically still be around in 2070. If L.A. stopped growing after 2020, it would still take Dallas until 2060 to officially overtake it.

But, as we know, a lot can change in 40 years. Detroit was still the 5th largest MSA less than 30 years ago.
     
     
  #12  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 12:35 AM
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Again, the southern cities boomed because of low col in last 30 years..
They're getting more expensive, not cheaper.

So theres no way the same growth rates will maintain.
     
     
  #13  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 1:39 AM
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Originally Posted by DCReid View Post
A more interesting question will be whether the Texas metros of DFW and Houston pass LA and Chicago over the next 30 years. Or whether they will hit a growth plateau like LA has (i.e., grow more slowly). And how big will Austin metro get; whether it will surpass all Midwestern metros except Chicago.
I don't see anything that'll stop Texas cities from continuing to be the leaders in growth decade after decade.

LA is growing slowly because there's not much available land left to develop easily.
     
     
  #14  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 1:45 AM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
LA, for a while now, has had slow growth, and has detached from the Sunbelt model of growth. The fringe isn't growing much anymore.
Wait, the fringe is growing and is one the fastest growing regions in California.

Riverside MSA population has increased by nearly 10% since 2010, compared to about 3.5% for Los Angeles MSA. The inland empire is fringe LA.
     
     
  #15  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 1:47 AM
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I don't see anything that'll stop Texas cities from continuing to be the leaders in growth decade after decade.

LA is growing slowly because there's not much available land left to develop easily.

Crawford pointed out why.
Once it gets more expensive, it's going to lose a ton of growth.

The same people getting priced out of the north east and California will get priced out of Texas, Florida and Georgia.
It's just a matter of time.
     
     
  #16  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 1:48 AM
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The LA PMSA did surpass NY in 1990.

PMSA were MSA that were consolidated into CMSAs.

1990 PMSA Population:
Los Angeles-Long Beach, CA 8,863,000
New York, NY 8,547,000

LA PMSA= Los Angeles county.
NY PMSA= New York City, Putnam, Rockland and Westchester counties.

Northern NJ, Long Island, Fairfield CT were part of the CMSA but were their own separate PMSAs.

Orange County was part of the CMSA but it was a separate PMSA.

It was a rather big story when the LA PMSA surpassed NY.
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  #17  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 1:48 AM
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Crawford pointed out why.
Once it gets more expensive, it's going to lose a ton of growth.
Not really. It's all relative. If Texas is expensive, that means that California and the Northeast are really f'n expensive.

Are people going to stop moving to Texas for Mississippi?

Texas has land, lots of it. California does not. New York certainly does not.
     
     
  #18  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 1:51 AM
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One illustration to this question....

     
     
  #19  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 2:03 AM
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Originally Posted by LA21st View Post
I don't see that happening at all, ever. At least for LA. In 30 years?

Dallas and Houston would have to hit 20 million, at least. They're going to more than double in size in 30 years? How much have they grown since 1990? 3 million?
They will definitely plateu well, well before that.
Houston has nothing but space for high density growth in all directions. The only thing I see slowing it down is a very legit concern about flood control.

Even two large hurricanes haven't slowed growth much, though God forbid what I'm thinking would be a test.
     
     
  #20  
Old Posted Oct 19, 2019, 2:11 AM
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It's not high density. It's very low density

And yes, people will move to cheaper cities, as they always have.

What's the draw in Texas besides col?
Not much.
     
     
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