The Positive and Negative Impact of Demographic and Economic Shifts on Cities

Week 3: The Positive and Negative Impact of Demographic and Economic Shifts on Cities

With so many people migrating to cities, not only does the demographic makeup of the cities change, but such dense population gives way to ongoing challenges. In some cases the infrastructure has not been able to accommodate the increased demands, housing may be limited or deteriorating, highways have disrupted or destroyed neighborhoods, and industries have moved out of cities or internationally to more economically viable areas.

This jump in density has also accelerated the concentration of poverty, economic competition between groups, crime, addiction, and disease. These challenges represent the forces that cause many human service needs. Cities naturally bring benefits as well. Diversity in race/ethnicity, religion, gender, and more. Cultural activities such as museums, financial opportunities, advanced medical facilities, and transportation options.

This week, you read about these challenges and benefits in relation to cities. You then examine the economic health and cultural diversity of your own community in comparison.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

· Identify influences on the economic health of the broader community

· Describe the effects of economic health on individuals within a community

· Compare economic issues across urban, suburban, and rural community classifications

· Identify cultural groups present in a community

· Describe similarities and differences in quality of life across cultural groups in a community


Learning Resources

Benefits and Challenges of Urban Living


Jagannath, T. (2020, October 9). Advantages and benefits of living in cities.


Issues Exacerbated by Demographic and Economic Shifts


Knight, K. R. (2020, June 3). The lack of affordable housing is getting worse in the U.S. Science X.


National Alliance to End Homelessness. (n.d.). State of homelessness: 2020 edition.


Picchi, A. (2019, December 2). Almost half of all Americans work in low-wage jobs. CBS News.


Semuels, A. (2015, November 25). Highways destroyed America’s cities. Can tearing them down bring revitalization? The Atlantic.


Vox. (2016, May 11). How highways wrecked American cities [Video]. YouTube.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 5 minutes.


Walker, A. (2018, August 21). Why U.S. cities need more multi-racial, mixed-income neighborhoods.


Assignment Resources (n.d.). Home.

Note: This site is a free option for creating infographics, flyers, and brochures. If you choose an infographic or photography series for this week’s Assignment, consider using this tool. Sign up, design your piece, and then download it as a PDF to submit in the course.


Walden University Writing Center. (n.d.). General templates: PowerPoint presentation.

Note: This template is an option if you choose to use PowerPoint for this week’s Assignment.




Discussion: Shifting Economics

Over the past few decades, certain events have led to serious economic trials for cities in the United States and worldwide. The financial crisis and recession of 2008 left many cities with high rates of unemployment and poverty even years later. On the other hand, some cities have repositioned themselves as thriving “tech hubs” as we continue to rely on electronic devices, apps, and other advancements. Both of these economic shifts—positive and negative—represent strong impacts on the communities and the people who live there.

In this Discussion, you observe the current economic climate in your own community and consider what variables have led to it. You then describe how the economy affects community members’ lives.

To Prepare

· Review your course announcements for possible information related to this week’s Discussion and Assignment.

· Reflect on your own community and consider the major employers, current economic trends (real estate, unemployment, homelessness), and recent business startups or closures.

By Day 4

What variables or issues are impacting the economy in your community? How are these economic issues reflected in the cultural makeup of the people who live in your community, and how do they affect community members’ lives?

By Day 6

Respond to at least one colleague by comparing the economic issues in their community with your own community. To what extent are these issues shaped by the type of community (e.g., urban vs. rural, small city vs. big city)?

Make sure to integrate and document ideas and concepts from the Learning Resources.




Assignment: Diverse Experiences of Community Living

A community assessment is one way in which HSPPs and other professionals gather information about a community in order to make decisions toward change. An assessment might ask, What is lifelike in this community? Who are the people who live here? What are the needs of the community? What are the strengths and resources?

You have been assessing your own community in similar ways over the past couple weeks, collecting population, demographic, and economic data to better understand who residents are and what conditions they are living in. In this Assignment, you further your observation of demographics by looking closely at the different cultural groups present in your community. You consider where these different cultural groups live and the quality of life they experience.

To Prepare

· Return to Week 1 Discussion 2 where you located demographic information on your community. Access information on the cultural groups present in your community.

· Use your research and observation skills to determine the sections of the community where different cultural groups live and the quality of life they experience.

· Determine how you will represent the information on different cultural groups. You may choose to submit one of the following:

· PowerPoint with notes

· Infographic

· 2-page paper

· Series of photographs with captions (Note: If choosing this option, do not show peoples’ faces or identifying characteristics.)

By Day 7

Compare your own experience (in terms of cultural group) to other cultures’ experiences of your town/city. Be sure to address the following:

· What cultural groups are represented in your community?

· What sections of the community do they inhabit?

· What quality of life do individuals from these cultural groups experience?

Make sure to integrate and document ideas and concepts from the Learning Resources.


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