Joel Kotkin

Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University
Author, The Next Hundred Million
Contributing Editor, City Journal

A visionary social thinker, scholar, and writer influencing the future of society, culture, and the urban landscape.

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Joel Kotkin is a leading expert on the evolution of cities, towns, and rural places across the world. He writes and speaks on their problems, opportunities, and their likely future.

A keen-eyed authority on economic, political, and social trends; he applies his knowledge and insight in those areas to the vital issues facing regions, major cities and countries.

Joel is the author of numerous eagerly-anticipated reports on topics such as:

  • Best cities to do business
  • Best cities for jobs
  • Immigration
  • Diversity
  • Smartest cities
  • Future of world’s largest cities
  • The new map of the world
  • The geography of trust networks

His work on the future of cities, towns, and regions focuses on many issues including planning for economic revitalization, the future of the middle class, and the role that resources and peripheral regions play in the rise of regions and countries.

Joel is a Contributing Editor to the City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute. He writes the weekly "New Geographer" column for where he explores the intersection of demographics and urban issues as well as global political and social issues.

His work also appears in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Inc. Magazine, The American, and on For several years he also contributed the monthly "Grass Roots Business" column in The New York Times' Sunday Business section.

Joel lectures widely in the United States, UK, Asia, Australia and Europe and is a sought-after speaker for major business and financial organizations. He appears regularly on radio and television as well. In 2010 he won the Gene Burd Award for best urban reporting.

Joel is the author of seven books, most recently:


A look at America 40 years from now, examining how we will live and work as the US population increases by one hundred million. Now available in paperback reprint edition.

National Review: Republican Reading Lists - NPR

"In his book, The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, über-geographer Joel Kotkin sketches out how this growth will change the national landscape. Extrapolating from current trends, he describes an archipelago of vibrant suburban town centers, villages and urban cores… Over the next 40 years, Kotkin argues, urban downtowns will continue their modest (and perpetually overhyped) revival, but the real action will be out in the compact, self-sufficient suburban villages. Many of these places will be in the sunbelt — the drive to move there remains strong — but Kotkin also points to surging low-cost hubs on the Plains, like Fargo, Dubuque, Iowa City, Sioux Falls, and Boise."
— David Brooks, New York Times


Examines the history and evolution of urban life and points to the factors that make a city livable and even great.

"a history of the city from the first urban centers of the 'Fertile Crescent'" in 5000, B.C., all the way to post-September 11th New York City."
Publishers Weekly

"A compelling and original synthesis that belongs on the urbanist’s bookshelf with Lewis Mumford, Peter Hall, and Fernand Braudel."
— Witold Rybczynski, Meyerson Professor of Urbanism, University of Pennsylvania

Additional Books

The New Geography: How the Digital Revolution is Reshaping the American Landscape

Tribes: How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success In the New Global Economy


  • Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University, California
  • Contributing Editor, City Journal
  • Columnist,
  • Senior Visiting Fellow at the Civil Service College in Singapore
  • Fellow at the National Chamber Foundation
  • Senior Fellow, Center for an Urban Future in New York City
  • Senior Consultant, Praxis Strategy Group in Fargo, North Dakota
  • Former Adjunct Fellow, Legatum Institute, London
  • Former West Coast Editor, Inc. Magazine
  • Former Business Trends Analyst, KTTV/Fox Television, Los Angeles
  • University of California, Berkeley


The Next Hundred Million

America in 2050

Joel Kotkin

Visionary social thinker Joel Kotkin looks ahead to America in 2050, revealing how the addition of one hundred million Americans by midcentury will transform how we all live, work, and prosper.

In stark contrast to the rest of the world's advanced nations, the United States is growing at a record rate and, according to census projections, will be home to four hundred million Americans by 2050. This projected rise in population is the strongest indicator of our long-term economic strength, Joel Kotkin believes, and will make us more diverse and more competitive than any nation on earth.

Drawing on prodigious research, firsthand reportage, and historical analysis, The Next Hundred Million reveals how this unprecedented growth will take physical shape and change the face of America. The majority of the additional hundred million Americans will find their homes in suburbia, though the suburbs of tomorrow will not resemble the Levittowns of the 1950s or the sprawling exurbs of the late twentieth century. The suburbs of the twenty-first century will be less reliant on major cities for jobs and other amenities and, as a result, more energy efficient. Suburbs will also be the melting pots of the future as more and more immigrants opt for dispersed living over crowded inner cities and the majority in the United States becomes nonwhite by 2050.

In coming decades, urbanites will flock in far greater numbers to affordable, vast, and autoreliant metropolitan areas-such as Houston, Phoenix, and Las Vegas-than to glamorous but expensive industrial cities, such as New York and Chicago. Kotkin also foresees that the twenty-first century will be marked by a resurgence of the American heartland, far less isolated in the digital era and a crucial source of renewable fuels and real estate for a growing population. But in both big cities and small towns across the country, we will see what Kotkin calls "the new localism"-a greater emphasis on family ties and local community, enabled by online networks and the increasing numbers of Americans working from home.

The Next Hundred Million provides a vivid snapshot of America in 2050 by focusing not on power brokers, policy disputes, or abstract trends, but rather on the evolution of the more intimate units of American society-families, towns, neighborhoods, industries. It is upon the success or failure of these communities, Kotkin argues, that the American future rests.

Penguin Press HC, The (February 4, 2010)


The More, the BetterThe Wall Street Journal
America the idealThe Globe and Mail
A Nation 400 Million StrongThe New York Times
The Future of the U.S. Economy: 2050USNews & World Report

The City

A Global History (Modern Library Chronicles)

Joel Kotkin

If humankind can be said to have a single greatest creation, it would be those places that represent the most eloquent expression of our species’s ingenuity, beliefs, and ideals: the city. In this authoritative and engagingly written account, the acclaimed urbanist and bestselling author examines the evolution of urban life over the millennia and, in doing so, attempts to answer the age-old question: What makes a city great?

Despite their infinite variety, all cities essentially serve three purposes: spiritual, political, and economic. Kotkin follows the progression of the city from the early religious centers of Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, and China to the imperial centers of the Classical era, through the rise of the Islamic city and the European commercial capitals, ending with today’s post-industrial suburban metropolis.

Despite widespread optimistic claims that cities are “back in style,” Kotkin warns that whatever their form, cities can thrive only if they remain sacred, safe, and busy — and this is true for both the increasingly urbanized developing world and the often self-possessed “global cities” of the West and East Asia.

Looking at cities in the twenty-first century, Kotkin discusses the effects of developments such as shifting demographics and emerging technologies. He also considers the effects of terrorism — how the religious and cultural struggles of the present pose the greatest challenge to the urban future.

Truly global in scope, The City is a timely narrative that will place Kotkin in the company of Lewis Mumford, Jane Jacobs, and other preeminent urban scholars.

Modern Library (October 10, 2006)

The New Geography

How the Digital Revolution Is Reshaping the American Landscape

Joel Kotkin

In the blink of an eye, vast economic forces have created new types of communities and reinvented old ones. In The New Geography, acclaimed forecaster Joel Kotkin decodes the changes, and provides the first clear road map for where Americans will live and work in the decades to come, and why. He examines the new role of cities in America and takes us into the new American neighborhood. The New Geography is a brilliant and indispensable guidebook to a fundamentally new landscape.

Random House Trade Paperbacks (October 23, 2001)


How Race, Religion and Identity Determine Success in the New Global Economy

Joel Kotkin

This explosive and controversial examination of business, history, and ethnicity shows how "global tribes" have shaped the world's economy in the past — and how they will dominate its future. An original vision of the past and the future of world business, Tribes is sure to provoke controversy and discussion.

Random House (April 5, 1994)


Joel tailors each presentation to the needs of his audience and is not limited to the topics we have listed below. These are subjects that have proven valuable to customers in the past and are meant only to suggest his range and interests. Please ask us about any subject that interests you; we are sure that we can accommodate you.

The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050

Demographics and the Future


Illinois is in competition | The Illinois Policy Institute

Why America Will Still Lead the World in 2050 |

How will populations change in the U.S. over the next 40 years? | Smithsonian


A leading business solutions provider:
Terrific. Joel was insightful, provocative and funny. His presentation was very compelling and the audience was very appreciative and said so often afterwards.

An conservation capital investment organization:
Joel did a great job and was quite personable and approachable to the various participants.


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