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.
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.