David Allen Plane is Professor, Department of Geography & Regional Development, University of Arizona. His research focuses on the dynamics of migration systems and methods for analyzing human population distribution and redistribution. Current projects involve the migration across the life-cycle and the linkages between urban hierarchies and migration patterns. A recent paper reporting on this research was published in the special spatial demography issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).
Major activities include: Executive Secretary of the Western Regional Science Association (WRSA); Program and Local Arrangements Chair of the 46th Annual Meeting of the WRSA; Senior Editor, Journal of Regional Science; Past President, Pacific Regional Science Conference Organization; Past President, Association of Pacific Coast Geographers
PRESENTATION ABSTRACT. Population density, as conventionally defined, can be thought of as areal-based average of the more local-scale or neighborhood densities at which people actually live. An alternative perspective, as suggested by Craig (Demography, 1984), is to calculate average densities on a per capita basis. In this presentation I demonstrate how “people-based” density can be much more revealing than overall density. I deploy people-based measures to examine patterns of population distribution, growth and decline over the 2000-2010 decade across and within U.S. metropolitan statistical areas at the level of census tracts: the Census Bureau statistical unit that most closely approximates urban neighborhoods. I show maps of tract-level density and population change, as well as the population and population density profiles of selected U.S. metro areas—derived from assigning tracts to bands of distance away from their largest principal city’s historic downtown core (proxied by the location of its city hall). A number of these reveal recent revival of downtown population growth and residential development—a phenomenon that Alan Ehrenhalt (2012) has dubbed “The Great Inversion.” I explore the role of young adult and empty-nester groups in leading this putative inside-outing trend, in which the suburbs are becoming demographically more like the central city and the central city becoming more like the suburbs. The lecture is based on data and materials developed for the 2010 Census Special Report: Patterns of Metropolitan and Micropolitan Population Change: 2000-2010 (Wilson, Plane et al., 2012).