Some cities Are Better Than Others
Guidebook authors clearly have their favorite cities, subtly categorizing each of America’s urban metropolises as good, bad or “hidden gems.”Good cities: Austin, Savannah, San Francisco, New Orleans, New York, Chicago, MiamiHidden Gems: Charleston, South Carolina; Portland, Oregon; Denver, ColoradoBad Cities: Phoenix, Los Angeles and anything in Texas other than AustinAnd then there’s Las Vegas. The love-hate relationship many have for the city leaves it straddling the line of good and bad cities. Rough Guides calls it an “unmissable destination,” but says, “it’s one that palls for most visitors after a couple of (hectic) days.” Frommer’s, meanwhile, jokes “Las Vegas has its own idea of what constitutes culture.” (creative commons/eschipul)

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.