C-W City

San Jose, California

Located just south of San Francisco Bay in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose has grown to become northern California's largest city. The city's population in 2010 was 945,000, exceeding San Francisco's population by about 140,000. Like most large California cities, San Jose has a diverse population: 43% are white, 32% are Asian, and 3% are African-American. 33% of San Jose's residents identify as Hispanic or latino. As would be expected for the central city of the Silicon Valley, San Jose enjoys considerable wealth, but it also has a large low-income population.  Read more about San Jose, California...

San Francisco, California

With nearly 852,500 residents in just 47 square miles, San Francisco is the most densely populated large city in the state of California and second in the United States. It is also the fourth largest county in California and its population has experienced more than a three and a half percent increase since 2000. According to the 2010 Census, San Francisco is 49 percent white, 33 percent Asian, 15 percent Hispanic or Latino, and six percent African-American. Read more about San Francisco, California...

Kansas City, Missouri

Bordering and sharing a name with its suburban neighbor in adjacent Kansas, Kansas City, Missouri is the largest city in the state with a population of more than 460,000 in 2011. Known for its substantial musical contributions to jazz and blues starting in the 1930s, Kansas City is also informally referred to as the "Heart of America" by Kansas City residents since it is situated very near the geographic center of the nation. Read more about Kansas City, Missouri...

Houston, Texas

Spurred on by industry from its bustling port and railroad connections, a 20th century oil boom, and later from diversification into aerospace (the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center) and healthcare and biotechnology (the MD Anderson Cancer Center), the City of Houston has grown rapidly in population and economic output. Today, Houston is the fourth largest city in nation with a population of 2.1 million people and one of the youngest cities in the country. Read more about Houston, Texas...

Columbus, Ohio

The largest city in Ohio, Columbus is also the capital of the state. According to the 2010 Census, Columbus is comprised of 787,000 people with a median age of 31.2 years old, seven years younger than the nation’s median. The city’s demographics are of 61.5 percent white, 28 percent African American, 4.1 percent Asian American, and 5.6 percent having a Latino/Hispanic background. Read more about Columbus, Ohio...

Austin, Texas

Updated December 2015

Known as “The Live Music Capital of the World,” Austin is reported to have more music venues per capita than any other U.S. city. Besides being a cultural center, it’s also the state capital, a center for education, and the economic hub for a metropolitan area of over 1.7 million people. With a population of nearly 912,800 according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2014 estimates, Austin is the fourth largest city in Texas.  It has experienced a population boom over the past several years—with a growth rate of nearly 16 percent between 2010 and 2014—and was ranked by Forbes as the second fastest growing city in 2015.  The city’s racial composition is roughly 49 percent white, 35 percent Hispanic or Latino, 8 percent African-American, 6 percent Asian, and 3 percent of two or more races.

Memphis, Tennessee

Capitol of the “Mid-South,” Memphis had over 652,000 residents in 2011, almost half of the region’s population. The Mid-South is the metropolitan hub of a five-state area which includes Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. With a worldwide reputation for culture and art (especially the blues), Memphis was also an important city during the Civil Rights movement, and the place where Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. Read more about Memphis, Tennessee...

St. Louis, Missouri

Updated March 2018

Founded in 1764 by French fur traders who named the city after King Louis IX, St. Louis became part of the United States in 1803 following the Louisiana Purchase.  As a major port on the Mississippi River, the city experienced significant growth during the 19th and early 20th centuries, reaching its peak of nearly 857,000 residents in 1950.

Like other industrial cities, in the mid-20th century St. Louis experienced significant population loss as a result of suburbanization and deindustrialization.   As an independent city, St. Louis felt the effects of these trends more severely than other municipalities that could annex surrounding areas to boost tax revenues.

New York, New York

As the nation's most populous city since 1790, New York City is home to about 8.4 million people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 estimate. Throughout its history, the city has been a leading entry point for immigrants, helping create an incredibly diverse city. Demographically, the city is 33 percent white (of which one third is Jewish), 29 percent Latino, 25 percent African American, and 13 percent Asian. The city is home to the largest Latino and African American communities in the country and the largest Jewish population of any city in the world. Read more about New York, New York...

New Orleans, Louisiana

A decade after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, more than halving the city's population from 455,000 to 210,000 residents, the Big Easy is coming back. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Orleans' population has climbed past 378,000. Demographically, the population is roughly 60 percent African American, 33 percent white, 5 percent Latino, and 3 percent Asian. Read more about New Orleans, Louisiana...

Seattle, Washington

With an estimated population of 570,000, Seattle is a major economic, cultural and educational center of the Pacific Northwest. According to the 2006-2008 American Community Survey, Seattle is 71-percent white, 13-percent Asian American, 8-percent African American, and 6-percent Latino. Having ranked as first or second for the last four years as the most literate city in the nation, it also holds the title as the most educated large city in the country - with more than 53 percent of the population having a college degree or higher. Read more about Seattle, Washington...

Boston, Massachusetts

Updated August 2017

As the largest city in New England, and one of its oldest, Boston has long been the region's economic and cultural hub. According to 2016 Census Bureau estimates, the city’s population is over 673,000.  While still lower than its peak of 800,000 in 1950, Boston has been steadily growing since 1980 and the Greater Boston region is home to over 4.7 million people – making it the tenth-largest metropolitan area in the country.

Buffalo, New York

In 1950, Buffalo, New York stood as the nation's eighth largest city, with a population of 580,000. In 2011, the U.S. Census estimated a population of 261,000 - 50% white, 38% black, 10.5% Latino, and 3% Asian. Similar to other Rust Belt cities, like Cleveland, Detroit and Pittsburgh, Buffalo has experienced decline as manufacturing companies, steel industries, and blue-collar jobs have disappeared. However, to fill this gap, the City and its residents have initiated new approaches and ideas to tough problems, revitalizing their city from both the top-down and the bottom-up. Read more about Buffalo, New York...

Los Angeles, California

Spanning across 500 square miles of Southern California, Los Angeles is the second most populous city in the United States with a 2010 census population of just under 3.8 million people. According to the 2010 census, the city’s population is 50% white, 10% black, and 15% Asian. Just under 50% of Los Angeles' population is Hispanic or Latino. Spurred in part by rampant urban sprawl and gentrification in some neighborhoods, Los Angeles has spawned a wide range of community wealth building initiatives that are seeking to counter these trends. Read more about Los Angeles, California...

Denver, Colorado

Updated February 2017

Nicknamed the Mile City because its official elevation measures exactly one mile above sea level, Denver is the largest city in Colorado and its capital.  Incorporated as a city in 1861 with less than 5,000 residents, Denver experienced significant growth when it was connected to the transcontinental railroad in 1870.  Powered by the development of new industries, that growth largely continued until the 1980s, when the city’s population reached more than half a million residents, before briefly falling.

The Twin Cities - Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota

Updated November 2016

Minneapolis, with its wide boulevards, organized grid layout, and modern downtown, stands in striking contrast to the city of St. Paul across the river, with its late-Victorian architecture, narrower streets, and irregularly shaped neighborhoods. While the Twin Cities have a long history of rivalry and differ in appearance, together they are home to many community wealth building initiatives and organizations. Read more about The Twin Cities - Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota...

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Updated June 2018

Founded in 1682 to serve as the capital of the colony of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia quickly gained prominence as its central location made it a natural meeting point for America’s revolutionaries.  The city’s growth continued through the 19th century as its position as a railroad hub and immigrant port helped it become a major industrial center.  Between 1890 and 1950, Philadelphia’s population doubled from 1 million to 2 million residents.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Updated April 2016

Many people, when they think of Pittsburgh, tend to think of its past as the historic center of the U.S. steel industry. Not surprisingly, the demise of that industry has taken its toll on the city. At its peak in 1943, U.S. Steel alone employed 50,000 workers in the metro Pittsburgh area. Today, it employs less than 5,000. As a result, the "Steel City" has seen a steady population decline. In 1950, the population of Pittsburgh was 677,000. By 2000, it had fallen to less than half that level, or 335,000, similar to the city's population level of a century before.  The Census Bureau’s estimate for 2014 is even lower— 305,412. Of the current population, about two-thirds are white, 26 percent African American, with the remainder Asian, Latino, or other.

Washington, D.C.

When most people think of Washington, D.C., they think of a city of iconic monuments, the Smithsonian museums, and the three branches of the Federal government. But Washington is also a thriving community of more than half a million residents. The District’s population, which lost over 200,000 residents between 1950 and 2000, has rapidly rebounded in recent years. As recently as 2007, the District was home to only 574,000 residents. By 2014, population had climbed back to 659,000 due to an influx of young, largely white residents. Read more about Washington, D.C....

Detroit, Michigan

Updated December 2017

Incorporated as a city in 1815, Detroit quickly experienced significant growth thanks to its location along the Great Lakes waterway, which made it an ideal port and transportation hub.  Between 1920 and 1930—thanks to the city becoming home to the thriving automobile industry—Detroit’s population more than doubled, increasing from 465,766 to 993,678 residents.  At its peak in 1950, the city had nearly 1.85 million inhabitants.