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Beautiful cities are growing faster than ugly ones

People move to cities for a whole host of reasons, whether it be for more money, more affordable housing, and/or better weather. The fastest growing cities in the US, for example, tend to be in the south where it’s warmer and where housing supply is more elastic. However, we also know that “consumer leisure amenities” increasingly factor into this decision.

A new research paper by Gerald A. Carlino (Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia) and Albert Saiz (MIT) has tried to quantify this relationship by looking at the perceived beauty of a place. To do this, they analyzed the number of tourist visits and the number of “crowdsourced picturesque locations” in a metro area. Read: Instagrammable moments.

What they found was that beauty, not surprisingly, matters (much like it does in other facets of life). Between 1990-2010, metro areas that were perceived as being “twice as picturesque” experienced greater population growth — about 10 percentage points higher. These metro areas also attracted a higher percentage of educated individuals and experienced greater housing appreciation.

If you’d like to download a copy of Beautiful city: Leisure amenities and urban growth, click here.

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