The Real Crisis in Our Cities

A woman walks past men passed out on the sidewalk in San Francisco, Calif., February 28, 2020. (Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)
The very reasons that people flee cities are also those that have created the poverty, rage, and despair currently on full display.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE T he coronavirus and the unrest following George Floyd’s death are shining an uncomfortable light on America’s cities. Many commentators have focused on whether or not the twin crises will mark a shift away from cities as people recoil from the virus and the violence, but the most important phenomenon we’ve seen revealed is something else: the culpability of city leaders for their current predicament. Outmigration won’t ruin cities, but they might well ruin themselves.

Despite predictions of their demise, cities will continue their outsized role in American life when things return to some semblance of normality. The forces that drive people …

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Ryan StreeterMr. Streeter is the director of domestic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

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