Subcommunity Change in a Changing Metropolis

Harvey M. Choldin, Claudine Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Residential areas in cities and suburbs change as they age. The conventional concepts that represent this process are succession and the neighborhood life cycle. In this study we use cohort analysis and multiple regression on small‐area data from four censuses to examine population growth patterns among subcommunities in metropolitan Chicago,1940–70. The major findings: among city and suburban areas, cohort is a strong predictor of growth and loss. All suburbs grew early in the period studied, but older suburbs stabilized in the 1960s. Among city areas and suburbs, familism is a strong predictor of growth. Many areas in the city began to lose population in the 1950s, with accelerated loss in the following decade. City areas undergoing racial change in the 1950s lost population rapidly in the following decade. We conclude that the succession model, which is embedded in Burgess' city growth model, no longer accounts for change at the subcommunity level. Thus, the research confirms the life‐cycle model but also points to the need for a new macro model of a nongrowing metropolis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-564
Number of pages16
JournalSociological Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1981

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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