Earlier this week, the Brookings Institution released a report describing the decentralization of jobs in U.S. metropolitan areas. This is not a new trend.
Wendell Cox has been tracking suburbanization trends for years and found that suburbs are the growth centers of U.S. and world metropolitan areas. From 2000 to 2006, suburban areas captured 91 percent of the population growth in U.S. urbanized areas. Data for the world's largest urban areas can be found here.
The modern classic on urban decentralization is Bob Bruegmann's highly regarded book Sprawl: A Compact History.
Wendell's book War on the Dream is also an engaging read.
Reason Foundation's work on sprawl and suburbanization may be best encapsulated in our policy report The Sprawling of America and Older Suburbs: Crabgrass Slums or New Urban Frontier.