Sep 18, 2019

Axios PM

By Mike Allen
Mike Allen

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Axios' Justin Green — is 492 words, a 2 minute read.

Situational awareness: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg will meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill tomorrow — his first time in Washington since he testified before Congress last year, sources tell Axios.

1 big thing: The rise and fall of America's big cities

Here's a wild ride: Axios' Kim Hart and Lazaro Gamio mapped the biggest cities in America over time, starting in 1790 and running through 2017.

Expand chart
Data: National Historical Geographic Information System, U.S. Census Bureau; Map: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

The big picture: Cities that were major economic hubs during the last century — primarily in the Northeast and Midwest — are struggling to hold on to population.

  • At the same time, some of the most successful areas — New York, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles — have had incredible staying power in the past several decades as they attract jobs and high-skilled workers.
  • The migration to the West and South is striking, showing the broad population gains by Sun Belt states as Rust Best areas decline.

Between the lines: The biggest blue circles on the map didn't change between 2010 and 2017, but their populations shrank across the board — an indication of people moving to less-expensive places, to suburbs or in pursuit of jobs in up-and-coming areas.

The bottom line: Regions are competing fiercely for the jobs and talent to fuel economic survival in the era of automation. But the uncertainty around that growth complicates long-term infrastructure investment decisions.

Go deeper: Click here to use the interactive.

Bonus: Pic du jour
Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Climate strike leader Greta Thunberg testifies during a House joint hearing today.

  • Thunberg, who recently sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-carbon emissions sailboat, is in Washington to discuss the climate crisis with lawmakers and will speak at the UN Climate Action Summit later this month in NYC.
2. What you missed
  1. The Fed cut interest rates by a quarter point, bringing the target range for the benchmark Fed Funds rate to 1.75%–2%. Go deeper.
  2. Confidence among top CEOs saw the biggest quarter-over-quarter drop in 7 years and hit a level not seen since the 4th quarter of 2016, according to a closely watched survey by the Business Roundtable. Go deeper.
  3. President Trump appeared to distance himself from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today after the latter’s failure to win a parliamentary majority yesterday. Go deeper.
  4. Households across the country may be at risk of drinking lead-tainted water as lead pipes age underground and municipalities struggle to balance high replacement costs with a slew of other urgent infrastructure projects. Go deeper.
  5. Obama's advice to presidents: The "thing that is helpful is not watching TV or reading social media." Go deeper.
3. 1 📚 thing

Merriam-Webster has added the use of the word "they" as a singular, nonbinary pronoun.

  • Why it matters: A growing number of Americans don't identify as male or female and use "they" or "them," rather than traditional pronouns. Merriam-Webster's move weakens the common argument against the singular "they" — that it is grammatically incorrect.

Merriam-Webster uses the word in a sentence as an example:

"I knew certain things about … the person I was interviewing. … They had adopted their gender-neutral name a few years ago, when they began to consciously identify as nonbinary — that is, neither male nor female. They were in their late 20s, working as an event planner, applying to graduate school."
Mike Allen