The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050

The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050
The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050  
The Next Hundred Million.jpg
Hardcover version cover
Author(s) Joel Kotkin
Country United States
Language English
Subject(s) Demographics of the United States
Genre(s) Nonfiction
Publication date 2010
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback)

The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050 is a non-fiction book by American economist and demographer Joel Kotkin. The author outlines a world in which the growing U.S. population reaches four hundred million by 2050. He argues that the U.S. will become more diverse (with a trend towards ethnic/racial mixing) and more competitive, and thus he predicts that the U.S. will experience continual economic growth that advances the populations' standard of living. Kotkin writes that the U.S. "should emerge by mid-century as the most affluent, culturally rich and successful nation in human history."[1]



Kotkin focuses on residential patterns among Americans. Contrasting suburbs and smaller cities with large metropolises, Kotkin argues against the thesis of urban theorists such as Jane Jacobs. Kotkin writes that suburbs provide diversity and new ideas as immigrants assimilate into American society. He identifies issues with large major cities such as San Francisco, California and New York City, New York. He views those areas as caught inside "the glamorous road to decline" with less incentive for ordinary, working class Americans to stay and with social policies benefiting the upper crust.[2]

Kotkin envisions a future of "smart sprawl" in which medium to low density suburbs without central dependence on big cities draw in increasing numbers of people. He writes, "in a dramatic change, the new suburbs will be far more diverse ethnically than those of the past".[3]

Kotkin concludes the book by aruging:

"None of it will be easy, and certainly much can go wrong. Still we have no reason to lose faith in the possibilities of the future. For all its problems, America remains, as the journalist John Gunther suggested over sixty years ago, 'lousy with greatness.’ The elements essential to forge a successful nation of four hundred million remain very much within our reach, there for the taking."[3]


The book is somewhat unique for the ecumenical nature of its reviews. For example, it received praise from both writers Michael Barone (generally center-right) and Alan Wolfe (generally center-left).[3]

Journalist Joe Friesen wrote for The Globe and Mail praising the book. He wrote tongue-in-cheek that "American decline is seductive, particularly to Canadians". Friesen remarked, "when it comes to the future, the field tends to be dominated by those who preach doom and gloom... Kotkin provides a well-argued, well-researched and refreshingly calm perspective."[1]

Anti-immigration opinion website published a negative review by Ellison Lodge. Lodge described Kotkin's views as "Ignorant" and "Don't Worry, Be Happy". Lodge stated that Kotkin ignored that, in Lodge's opinion, "The loss of America’s historic white majority will reduce 'social capital' and increase racial tension. And the sheer number of people will create sprawl, pollution, depletion of resources, and overcrowding of infrastructure."[3]

Philip Langdon panned the book in the New Urban Network. He wrote, "Disseminating information that doesn’t withstand scrutiny seems to be characteristic of Kotkin". Langon argued that Kotkin cherry-picked data points to support the narrative that suburban life is superior to urban life. Langdon described the book's mission as "to disparage dense development, central cities, smart growth, and ambitious government planning."[4]

See also

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External links

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