In many ways, the contemporary history of America's economy is really a story about cities. Metro areas rise and fall with each generation, buoyed or sunk by the industries and trends that support them.
The chart below, from the McKinsey Global Institute, does a beautiful job telling that story. On the left, we have the top 30 U.S. metro areas ranked by real GDP as of 1978. On the right, the top 30 for 2010. That cross-hatch of red and blue lines shows just how much churn there has been in the economy. But I think there are three main trends to take away from this.
First, there's the fall of the Rust Belt and the rise of the Sun Belt....MORE