The city size distribution debate: Resolution for US urban regions and megalopolitan areas

Brian J.L. Berry, Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations

Abstract

Four phases of interest in the distribution of city sizes are identified and current conflict in the literature is shown to be a consequence of poorly-selected units of observation. When urban regions are properly defined, US urban growth obeys Gibrat's Law and the city size distribution is strictly Zipfian rank-size with coefficient q=1.0. Care has to be taken with definition of the largest urban-economic regions, however; the fit in the upper tail of the distribution is best when they are recognized to be megalopolitan in scale.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)S17-S23
JournalCities
Volume29
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

Keywords

  • City size
  • Gibrat
  • Lognormal
  • Megalopolis
  • Pareto
  • Rank-size
  • Zipf

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