I'm worried about Chicago
Slowing national population growth plus remote work spell big trouble for Midwestern cities
The large hedge fund Citadel announced last week that it’s leaving Chicago.
That’s hot on the heels of two even larger companies, Boeing and Caterpillar, departing for greener pastures. This has naturally prompted a lot of narrowly partisan and narrowly political bickering in and around the state of Illinois. But stepping back, I think it’s an opportunity to reflect on some more fundamental issues. In particular, while the shift to remote work is a challenge for all kinds of places, I think it’s a dire threat to places like Chicago that were affordable but slow-growing before the pandemic.
These are the kinds of places that get discussed least in the American discourse, which tends to pay a lot of attention to the struggles of the expensive coastal metro areas (New York, Boston, Seattle, San Francisco) and the fast-growing Sun Belt ones (Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Phoenix). But as we are reminded every time we look at the Electoral College, there are still a lot of people living in the…
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