In cities around the world, the offices and storefronts of the downtown core fill up with people during the workday to keep the wheels of commerce turning.
Nowhere is this phenomenon as pronounced as in Manhattan, which swells to an incredible four million people during work hours. Today’s animation, created by Justin Fung, is a dramatic, eye-opening look at the “pulse” of America’s largest city.
Also, check out the fancy interactive version of this visualization.
This dramatic shift in population on a daily basis is made possible by Manhattan’s unparalleled carrying capacity, or its ability to facilitate an inflow of millions of people who come for all sorts of reasons. Many of the metropolises with the most dramatic daytime population spikes, such as Washington, D.C. and New York, also have much higher rates of transit ridership than the average city.
Not surprisingly, three surrounding boroughs have the largest daytime population decreases in the entire country.
While many parts of Manhattan remain lively in the evening, many downtown cores around the country simply empty out.
This stark contrast is particularly noticeable in low-rise communities with large employment hubs such as Redmond, Washington or Palo Alto, California, both of which are home to sprawling tech campuses.
In the case of the nation’s capital, the city is a powerful magnet for talent. As well, Washington’s unique position between state lines means that people have the option of residing in Virginia or Maryland and easily commuting in.
Higher resting heartbeat
Thanks to a renewed interest in urban living, many cities are starting to see an uptick in the number of residents who choose to skip the long commute and just live where the action is.
This trend is particularly pronounced in Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto. The latter city’s downtown population is expected to double over the next 25 years, while Vancouver’s sustained real estate boom has added tens of thousands of residents to the downtown area.
In the U.S., Seattle has demonstrated significant urban residential growth. Since 2010, the population of downtown and surrounding neighborhoods has grown by an impressive 18%, and 1-in-5 people moving to the city choose to live in the downtown area.
The 2020 U.S. Census will provide a much better clearer picture of how this trend is playing out.