This makes you wonder just how wealthy America could be if the federal government was actually instituting pro-urban policies rather than just marginally less anti-urban policies as compared to Europe. I would guess that because of current political dynamics that won’t happen anytime soon since a large segment of the Republican party depends so much on rural or exurban demographics. That said, I guess things could be worse.
Via Wonkbook: “All told, some 80 percent of Americans live in large cities, versus just 58 percent of Western Europeans. Why the difference? The McKinsey report explains language barriers in Europe have made migration from rural to urban areas somewhat slower on that continent. Also, various E.U. programs have “transferred funds from richer metropolitan regions in its member states to poor rural ones.” Government spending in Europe has helped limit urban migration.
That’s noteworthy in light of the fact that various commentators have often complained that the U.S. Congress has a rural bias (in part because of the way the Senate is structured). David Leonhardt, for instance, has argued that, in the United States, “suburbs and rural areas receive vastly more per-person federal largesse than cities.” There’s some debate over Leonhardt’s numbers, but either way, the McKinsey report suggests that Western Europe has a much larger anti-city bias in its policies — and is somewhat poorer as a result.”