Scotland’s cities: creative centers?
Migration statistics provide one of the keys to evaluating theories of urban development such as Richard Florida’s creative class theory. (Maybe find quote here to illustrate that creative class theory hinges on migration.) This data (http://www.gro-scotland.gov.uk/files2/stats/gros-mid-2008-population-estimates-scotland-population-estimates-by-sex-age-and-administrative-area/j1075011.htm) from Scotland is interesting to consider in the context of his theories, which haven’t been discussed much (to my knowledge) in the context of countries other than the U.S. Florida’s theory relates a city’s diversity, including its proportion of immigrants, to its population and economic growth. Scotland’s largest cities, which in order are Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Dundee, all saw positive net migration from 2007-2008. Most of this positive migration came from overseas, as denoted in the column on the far right. Migration within Scotland tended to be negative for these cities. Furthermore, the data indicates that overall net migration to and from abroad was negative for most other areas in Scotland. (U.S. Census data doesn’t provide net migration data for overseas.) Put simply, the largest magnets for immigrants in Scotland were the largest cities.
This pattern doesn’t vary from cities in the U.S. as much as one might think. MSAs (which is the level of geography Florida uses for his analysis) with high inflows of immigrants in 2009 tended to be near the top in terms of size, as seen in the table below. The top four destinations for immigrants were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Miami; all of these cities (MSAs) had negative net domestic migration. Overall, seven of the top 15 cities on this list had negative net domestic migration for 2009.
|CBSA Code||Total population change
|Vital events||Net migration|
|35620||New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA||101,295||0.5||108,389||250,337||141,948||-9,609||100,669||-110,278|
|31100||Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA||106,402||0.8||112,033||190,001||77,968||-4,838||75,062||-79,900|
|33100||Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Pompano Beach, FL||45,299||0.8||23,238||70,298||47,060||22,227||51,548||-29,321|
|19100||Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX||146,530||2.3||69,479||105,621||36,142||76,812||31,571||45,241|
|26420||Houston-Sugar Land-Baytown, TX||140,784||2.5||63,191||96,404||33,213||77,658||27,996||49,662|
|41860||San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA||57,617||1.4||25,927||55,577||29,650||32,353||24,376||7,977|
|12060||Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA||89,627||1.7||51,412||83,003||31,591||37,767||20,288||17,479|
|41940||San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA||29,054||1.6||18,313||27,733||9,420||10,986||16,347||-5,361|
Immigration is one aspect of creative class theory that doesn’t seem very well articulated. Florida includes it in his diversity index in his book The Rise of the Creative Class, and cites that index’s significant correlation with population and income growth. However, when immigration is broken out, the relationship is not significant. Regardless, diversity, including immigration, has a prominent place in his theory. Semi-recent blog posts (http://www.newgeography.com/content/001110-the-white-city) only confirm that there is much more to the creative city’s relationship with immigrants and diversity in general.
Furthermore, this article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/16/us/16skilled.html) from the New York Times points out that metro areas attracting immigrants of all skill levels are the ones that grew the most between 1990 and 2008. It’s hard to exactly define the relationship here; a fast-growing city might simply attract more immigrants to work in the construction industry and similar areas. Regardless, the data examined here indicates that the relationship may not be exactly as Florida surmised.
This data also highlights the concentration of immigrants in urban centers of the UK, as opposed to a more widespread suburbanization of immigrants in the U.S (Waldinger 2001). Immigrants are a smaller percentage of in-migrants for principal cities in the U.S. (about 13% compared to about 30%). Maybe Scotland’s larger cities, along with the rest of the U.K.’s cities, would fit into a slightly different model for creative cities. That their migration within Scotland tended to be negative suggests an outmigration of mainly families with children, while in-migrants probably tend to be single or without children.
There has been lots of discussion on the limitations of creative class theory in describing U.S. cities. It would be interesting to see a more thorough discussion of urban systems abroad and how they relate to it.
Reference: Waldinger, R. (ed.) (2001) Strangers at the gates: new immigrants in urban America. Los Angeles: University of California Press.