Factors that led to the early growth of American cities are still influential today.
The growth of American cities began in the late 1700s. This growth was directly related to certain influential factors. Some of the same factors that led to such growth hundreds of years ago are the very same factors influencing the further growth, development and urbanization of American cities today.
In today’s society, transportation is so readily available that it has become somewhat of an afterthought, yet in earlier years, transportation was a major influence on the growth of American cities. People were drawn to areas that had readily available avenues for transportation, such as waterways, rivers, sea ports, railways and eventually highways.
The economy of any given area is a major influence on the growth rate of that city. Areas with a diverse economy have typically grown the fastest because they open doors for a number of different job opportunities for its residents. A current example is the state of Texas, which is leading the nation with the fastest growing cities, including Austin, Dallas and Houston. This growth stems from the state’s diverse economy and multiple industries including aerospace, information technology and petroleum. People migrate to cities where job opportunities are not only concentrated but plentiful.
Education has also played a prominent role in the development and growth of American cities. People have been drawn to areas where there is an opportunity for educational advancement. Good educational systems, from high schools and colleges to graduate schools, have attracted individuals to these areas. New York City and Chicago are two cities that continue to attract individuals for their prestigious universities and colleges.
Migration and Urbanization
Migration is one of the simplest yet powerful and influential factors on the growth and urbanization of American cities. Whether individuals are attracted to a certain area for its climate, retirement purposes or housing market, when people move from one area to the next, it leads to the development and growth of American cities. Cities have also expanded due to migration and the development of the suburbs outside of the concentrated city areas.