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The effects of population and housing density in urban areas on income in the United States

February 2020


Cities in the United States have become increasingly less dense either from sprawl from rapid development or vacancy due to decline. The benefits and costs of urban density have been a topic of research since the mid-20th century. The effect of urban density on incomes is one of these areas of research. Based on concepts rooted in urbanization economies and social output, it is assumed in this paper that an increase in urban density increases incomes. Urban density is defined as population and housing density. It was found using a cross-sectional lagged mediated multiple regression that population and housing density have statistically significant indirect effects on income in a sample of more than 300 metropolitan areas in the United States. The significant effects of these variables on employment and the effect of employment on income mediated these effects.

Local Economy (Vol. 35 / No. 1: pp. 27-47)

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