Urbanism. – In 1970 over 149 million residents (73.5%) lived in cities. The urban phenomenon, once developed essentially in the states of the North-East, has gradually affirmed itself also in the interior, especially in the West, where numerous centers have assumed gigantic dimensions on the model of the oldest metropolises of the Atlantic coast, the Great Lakes and the Appalachian Industrial District. At the last census (1970) 916 cities with over 25,000 residents were detected compared to 762 ten years earlier, and currently in the USA there are as many as 30 metropolitan areas whose population exceeds one million residents (there were 23 in 1960). The largest of all continues to be the one that extends around the mouth of the Hudson, including New York, Jersey City and Newark; while in the confines of the largest city there is an almost static population, in the order of 7.9 million residents, the metropolitan area of Greater New York hosts a sharp decline in the number of individuals (approximately 9.6 million in 1977) and instead the boundaries and the population of the urbanized area that hinges on New York are expanding dramatically, also affecting the neighboring state of New Jersey, so much so that almost 16.2 million (on the same date) residents of this “megalopolis” of the Atlantic. The most impressive urban expansion in recent times has concerned the Pacific coasts, in particular California, which now has five metropolises: Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Francisco today collect a total of about 15 million residents., while centers such as San José and Sacramento have experienced impressive population increases in a very short time. Other cases of massive development of urban dimensions have been recorded in Florida (Jacksonville), Arizona (Tucson) and especially in Texas, where Houston, Dallas and Austin recorded population increases of more than 20% in the period 1960-70. The expansion of large centers is often balanced by the already mentioned movement of exodus from the more clogged urban perimeters towards more modest, but also more welcoming, residential centers located in the peri-urban area, from which every day the active people displace en masse for the development. of their professional activities. At the 1970 census, over thirty large centers reported substantial population losses, sometimes in the order of 10-15% compared to ten years earlier, in favor of its own satellite nuclei. This group included, in addition to the capital Washington (756,510 residents in 1970 against 763,956 in the previous census), as many as 13 state capitals and as many as 24 of the 56 centers with over 250,000 residents (including Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Detroit); in general, the exodus was particularly marked in the cities with the oldest and most intense industrialization (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Akron).
We provide the picture in order of magnitude of the cities that exceeded 250,000 residents in 1975, with the exception of the aforementioned state capitals (in brackets the population in 1960): New York 7,867,760 (7,781,984); Chicago 3,366,957 (3,550,404); Los Angeles 2,816,061 (2,479,015); Philadelphia 1,948,609 (2,002,512); Detroit 1,511,482 (1,670,144); Houston 1,232,802 (938,219); Baltimore 905,759 (939,024); Dallas 844,401 (679,684); Cleveland 750.903 (876.050); Milwaukee 717,099 (741,324); San Francisco 715,674 (740,316); San Diego 696,769 (573,224); San Antonio 654.153 (587.718); Memphis 623,530 (497,524); St. Louis 622,236 (750,026); New Orleans 593,471 (627,525); Seattle 530,831 (557,087); Jacksonville 528,865 (201,030); Pittsburgh 520,117 (604,332); Kansas City 507,087 (475,539); Buffalo 462,768 (532,759); Cincinnati 452,524 (502,550); San José 445.779 (204.196); Minneapolis 434,400 (482,872); Ft. Worth 393,476 (356,268); Toledo 383.105 (318.003); Newark 382,417 (405,220); Portland 382,619 (372,676); Louisville 361,472 (390,639); Oakland 361,561 (367,548); Long Beach 358.633 (344.168); Omaha 347,328 (301,598); Miami 334,859 (291,688); Tulsa 331,638 (261,685); El Paso 322,261 (276,687); Norfolk 307,951 (304,869); Birmingham 300,910 (340,887); Rochester 296,233 (318,611); Tampa 277,767 (274,970); Wichita 276,554 (254,698); Akron 275,425 (290,351); Tucson 262,933 (212,892); Jersey City 260.350 (276.101); Austin 251,808 (186,545). As for the metropolitan areas, there are 7 (Baltimore, Boston, Philadelphia, Newark, New York, Paterson, Washington) in the Atlantic belt between Massachusetts and the Federal District, 6 on the shores of the Great Lakes (Buffalo, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Milwaukee and Minneapolis), 2 in the Appalachian industrial districts (Pittsburgh, Atlanta), 1 in Florida (Miami), 3 in the South (Dallas, Houston and New Orleans), 5 in the Center (Cincinnati, Denver, Indianapolis, Kansas City, St. Louis), and 6 along the Pacific belt between the state of Washington and the Mexican border (Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle). Overall, these metropolitan districts are home to over 73 million individuals, equal to over a third of the Confederation’s population and almost half of the entire urban population.
Economic conditions. – At the 1970 census, the labor force of the USA was made up of 82,048,781 individuals, equal to 58.2% of the population over the age of 16. Apart from the nearly 2 million employees in military services and the approximately 4 million unemployed (4.4% of assets), the distribution of the 76,553,599 employed between the various activities was as follows: agriculture, forestry and fishing 3.7% ; extractive industries 0.8%; construction and manufacturing industries 31.9%; transport 6.8%; trade, finance and miscellaneous services 51.2%; public administration 5.5%. In the last twenty years, therefore, the weight of the agricultural population has decreased enormously (it was 18.3% in 1950) and a considerable reduction also denounces the share of those employed in mining activities; this is also a consequence of the widespread mechanization of work in the fields and mines, as well as a general tendency to outsource the US economy. The largest increases in employees (in percentage and in absolute values) were recorded, in fact, in the services sector, especially in the field of highly qualified services (banking, finance, management) and in trade (retail and wholesale), which alone occupies a higher percentage of assets than that attributable in 1950 to the entire service sector.