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The Suburban Sunbelt
Journal of Urban History (1987)
  • Carl Abbott, Portland State University

The thesis that suburbanization in the United States has followed a unique national pattern can obviously be tested against the experience of other nations. Its consistency can also be evaluated against evidence on regional patterns of urban growth within the United States. In particular, it is possible that the suburban experience of the American Sunbelt, which has concentrated metropolitan growth during recent decades, might diverge from the general patterns of suburban evolution as defined by Jackson and others.

This discussion therefore offers suggestions about two aspects of the suburban process in the Sunbelt. First, it reviews available literature on metropolitan deconcentration in the South and West since 1950 and presents a limited amount of additional data to see whether and to what extent Sunbelt standard metropolitan statistical areas (SMSAs) fit within the presumed national process. Second, it examines the political responses to deconcentration found within Sunbelt SMSAs and contrasts them to those of the Frostbelt. In broad summary, it appears that the process of demographic and economic deconcentration is essentially the same across American regions but that the political adaptations to these basic changes may be somewhat different in the Sunbelt

  • Suburbs -- Planning
Publication Date
May, 1987
Publisher Statement
This article can be found on SAGE Journals (; doi: 10.1177/009614428701300305
Citation Information
Carl Abbott. "The Suburban Sunbelt" Journal of Urban History Vol. 13 Iss. 3 (1987)
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