The Best of the West: Dallas, Houston, Stockholm, Stuttgart

by Ryan Streeter on August 7, 2012. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

My second paper with GMF looks at “geographies of opportunity” in America and Europe. In the paper I write:

At first glance, Dallas, Houston, Stockholm, and Stuttgart might seem like an odd grouping, but they have one thing in common: they are the only four Western cities in the Brookings Global MetroMonitor’s list of the 40 strongest metro economies worldwide.1 Given that 95 percent of the slowest growing largest metro economies in the world are in North America and Europe, the fact that these four Western cities are in the top fifth is noteworthy.

Read the whole thing to learn about what sets these four cities apart.

  • Joel P.

    Expert article. Is there a link between population growth and comparatively higher birth rates in these cities and upward mobility? It seems you attribute the rise in upward mobility to, e.g., lots of patents, friendly business environment for start-ups, and other economic factors. If upward mobility provides the basis of optimism at the cellular, family unit level, then it makes sense that such economic conditions foster stronger cities.

    To look to these four cities and learn best practices makes sense then.

    However, what is the data on the phenomenon I read that richer couples are having fewer kids because they have more money to go on vacations and purchase nice things?

    You are correct to suggest, if you are, that a favorable economic environment attracts people to cities and creates the conditions for optimism that could inform a family to have more children. However, the use of birth control among the upwardly mobile, the rise of the “have it all now” American culture (called the “Me” generation in the 80’s and 90’s by Modern Age authors), and a growing secular and materialist vision of success militate against having more kids.

    I think you are right that higher birth rates are spurred by the positive economic factors you discuss in these places. However, how would you address the points I make? My sentiment, and yes, with some sentimentality, is the hope that the higher birth rates (or steady rates) have to do with virtue and religious upbringing or religious influence.

    Do people who go for more kids say to themselves, “we can afford more?” And is that the key? Or, do they belong to Churches and/or share conservative values that explain, in part, the rise in births?

    Thanks for the economics lesson. You know your stuff Ryan.