Thursday, February 26, 2009

DDN Blogging on City Limits and Population

Editorial page writer Martin Gottlieb has two opinion blog posts on the recent Forbes ranking of Dayton as one of the top five emptiest metro areas.

The first post on Daytons small geographical size affecting it's rankings generated a sorehead comment about how Dayton didn't want to annex Kettering. A good antitidote to this persistent urban legend (and blame-the-vicitim rationalization) is this Dayonlogy post from a year or two ago: Legends of Annexation, which will set everyone straight on the real story on how Dayton was shut out of Oakwood and Kettering.

The second post is on how Dayton's population is a small % of the county population. If one adds Greene County to this (and Greene County is an integral part of the metro area) Dayton's share of population drops to 21%. Add Springboro, Tipp City, Waynesville, and Franklin and the % might even drop below 19%. Which shows how peripheral the city is the life of this region.

The post makes this good example (since I'm familiar with it):

On this score, Dayton is at a huge disadvantage compared with other cities in Ohio as well as several other cities we tend to compare ourselves to. For Louisville, KY, 36% of the county population is within the city limits. This 7% difference is likely very significant as the suburbs you pick up are very likely made up of moderate to high income earners which would significantly impact any city to the positive side.

This was indeeed the case in Lousiville, as areas similar to Oakwood, Southern Hills, and the older parts of Kettering are within the city limits. One could say, though, that this was the case in Dayton, too. Neighborhoods on either side of Salem are somewhat equivilant to middle and upper middle class areas in Louisville's Highlands (and places like Mount Lookout and Observatory in Cincinnati). Coming into the early postwar era substantial parts of northwest Dayton were fairly affluent.

Of course, what happened in Dayton was white flight, and the Salem corridor (and now North Main) became Dayton's second ghetto (though parts of Dayton View along Cornell Avenue are still fairly affluent).

So, racial change had a lot to do with Dayton losing its middle/upper middle class population.


Anonymous said...

Another example of what you're talking about, Jeffrey, is Omaha. Omaha at one point was somewhat similar to Dayton in demographics; but due to its relative isolation from other metro areas and state law that favored the center city annexing other municipalities in the immediate area, the urban core has strengthened as opposed to Dayton which has weakened in relation to its suburbs. I don't see this changing unless the home rule concept in the Ohio constitution changes (doubtful)or the metro area finally adopts its own style of regionalization that recognizes the need to swim together or sink together. To do this, an outside-Dayton entity (as yet unknown . . . maybe a Dan Foley?) will have to lead the charge. At the same time, Dayton will have to get its act together with the strengths and resources it continues to have.

Jefferey said...

Dayton would be the largest city in Arkansas, Mississipie, SC, etc, but it suffers as sort of third or second tier city in the Midwest.