Megalopolis: Then and Now

Authors: Darryl Cohen*, U.S. Census Bureau
Topics: Urban Geography, Population Geography, United States
Keywords: urban geography, metropolitan areas, population, census
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The concept of the urbanized northeastern United States – a chain of contiguous metropolitan areas from Boston to Washington – as a single unit of analysis was first popularized by Jean Gottman in his 1961 book, "Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States." This paper examines the area as delineated in Gottmann’s study, as well as how the area and its demographic characteristics have changed in the nearly 60 years since. Historical data will be presented from the 1960 census, as well as more recent data from the 2010 census, postcensus population estimates, and the American Community Survey. Data will be shown for the area as originally defined by Gottmann, as well as how the area might be defined currently, using contemporary data and metropolitan statistical area criteria.

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