7 Ways the Pandemic Will Change Big U.S. Cities

Historically, pandemics transform cities.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Historically, pandemics transform cities. Outbreaks of cholera and other diseases, for example, spurred improvements in planning and sanitation throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. COVID-19 will also leave a lasting impact, in part by accelerating preexisting trends.

In the short term, cities will likely suffer as the virus highlights the disadvantages of dense urban spaces. Even before COVID-19, population growth in urban counties had flatlined. Several factors will favor the suburbs—some old (the lower cost of living, for example) and some new (an increase in telework).

So, will COVID-19 usher in a new era of de-urbanization? Not necessarily. Indeed, cities may be in the best position to lead the economic recovery after the pandemic, much as they did after the Great Recession. “Superstar” cities with strong tech industries like San Francisco and Seattle will likely rebound the fastest.

Read on to discover seven post-pandemic developments to expect in big cities across America.

Matthew Housiaux
Reporter, The Kiplinger Letter
Housiaux covers the White House and state and local government for The Kiplinger Letter. Before joining Kiplinger in June 2016, he lived in Sioux Falls, SD, where he was the forum editor of Augustana University's student newspaper, the Mirror. He also contributed stories to the Borgen Project, a Seattle-based nonprofit focused on raising awareness of global poverty. He earned a B.A. in history and journalism from Augustana University.