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Urban Studies Research
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 376529, 14 pages
Review Article

Urban Areas in the Transformation of the South: A Review of Modern History

Heller College of Business, Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL 60605, USA

Received 13 December 2012; Revised 20 March 2013; Accepted 7 April 2013

Academic Editor: César Ducruet

Copyright © 2013 John F. McDonald. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since the 1940s, the southern US has been transformed from a region of backward agriculture, low-wage industries located in small towns and rural areas, and unrelenting racial segregation into a modern society and economy. In 1950, there were no metropolitan areas in the South with a population of one million or more, but 18 had populations in excess of one million in 2000. The populations of the Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, and Miami metropolitan areas grew to over 4 millions. Population growth in the 18 largest metropolitan areas accounts for 63% of the total population growth in the South from 1950 to 2000. The transformation of the South is, to a sizable extent, a transformation to an urbanized society. This paper documents this urbanization by examining population and employment growth in those 18 metropolitan areas.