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Milwaukee, WI 53201
In 1998, the UWM Center for Economic Development published a comprehensive study of the Milwaukee region's economic performance. The study, titled The Economic State of Milwaukee: The City and the Region, compiled data on a broad set of indicators of economic well-being for Milwaukee and 13 other "Frostbelt" metropolitan areas. The analysis was both historical and comparative, including data as far back as the 1950s for the 14 cities and metropolitan areas examined. A key contribution of the study was to document the impacts of deindustrialization, white flight from the city to the suburbs, and segregation on Milwaukee during this period. The result of these economic and demographic changes was a dramatic deterioration, both absolutely and in comparison to other cities, in the city of Milwaukee's economic well-being as measured by numerous indicators in the study. Suburban Milwaukee fared considerably better on many of our indicators, resulting in a sizeable gap between city and suburban economic performance.
In this report, we examine once again the economic state of Milwaukee, focusing this time on the period from 1990 to 2008. Our intent with this report, in part, is to see how well Milwaukee has weathered the disruptive changes of previous decades. Has Milwaukee successfully come to grips with deindustrialization and other urban problems that caused the city's decline during the 1970s and 1980s? Or is our performance still among the weakest of Frostbelt cities on many indicators of economic well-being? Are we closing the gap between city and suburban economic performance, or do significant disparities remain? Is there noticeable improvement in the economic welfare of the city's black population, or do we continue to see large disparities between racial groups?
This report is similar in scope to our previous study but includes a slightly larger sample of cities and metropolitan areas. Several regions that were not part of our previous study-including Kansas City, Newark, Omaha, Toledo, and Wichita-appear similar enough to Milwaukee to be useful comparative cases for the present study. We ultimately selected the 19 most populated metro areas in the Northeast and Midwest, with the exception of New York City and Washington, DC, which were omitted due to their unusual economic characteristics. In addition to those regions just named, our sample consists of Baltimore, Boston, Buffalo, Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.
Key findings of the report are as follows:
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