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What Buckeye and Youngstown say about America’s economy - The Economist


When I was born, the population here was 1,200, and that included every dog, chicken and cat in the community,” Jackie Meck says with a soft chuckle. Mr Meck is now in his 80s, and his city, Buckeye, has come a long way. A whiff of manure from nearby dairy farms still hangs over the main street, but giant new housing developments sprawl out for miles into the scrubby Arizona desert, making it one of America’s fastest-growing cities. Buckeye today has a population of 100,000, up 15-fold over the past two decades. Its planners want at least 1m.

A couple of thousand miles to the north-east is Youngstown, Ohio, a city moving in the opposite direction. “The majority of younger people who can leave do leave, whether because they want to or they feel they don’t have any opportunity here,” says Ian Beniston, a community organiser. Once a manufacturing powerhouse, Youngstown today is one of America’s fastest-shrinking cities.

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