The financial crisis and resulting deep recession over the past decade hit U.S. suburbs hard and stimulated the growth of several major cities, but now data show a possible recovery in the growth of suburbs.

U.S. cities with a population above 1 million people grew at a 1.02 percent annual rate in 2012-2013, down from 1.13 percent in the year-earlier period, according to a Brookings Institution report cited Thursday by the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, the report said suburban areas grew just shy of 1 percent, in both periods.

William Frey, a demographer at Brookings, told the Journal, "City growth may be bottoming out, as well as the downsizing of the outer suburbs," but he couldn’t say whether the "city slowdown signals a return to renewed suburban growth."

Fourteen of America’s 20 biggest cities experienced slowing growth or declining populations from 2012 to 2013.

Detroit and Philadelphia saw the largest declines, according to the data.

The paper said that among the fastest-growing cities, Austin, Texas, had its growth rate fall to 2.4 percent from 3.1 percent. Austin, like many Texas cities, is growing rapidly due to its attractive business climate and lack of a state income tax. The state has also diversified from energy by introducing high tech and services industries.

New York, the nation’s largest city, had its growth slide to 0.7 percent from 0.9 percent, the report said.