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On the parametric description of US city size distribution: New empirical evidence

Ramos, Arturo and Sanz-Gracia, Fernando and González-Val, Rafael (2014): On the parametric description of US city size distribution: New empirical evidence.

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Abstract

We study US city size distribution using places data from the Census, without size restrictions, for the period 1900-2010, and the recently constructed US City Clustering Algorithm (CCA) data for 1991 and 2000.

We compare the lognormal and the double Pareto lognormal with two newly introduced distributions. The empirical results are overwhelming: one of the new distributions greatly outperforms any of the previously-used density functions for both types of data.

We also discuss the implications of these results for the possible existence of a class of stochastic processes broader than the standard geometric Brownian motion with drift with or without a Yule process, which might generate the new density functions.

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