The Suburbs Are Having a Moment
America largely remains a suburban nation. Younger generations threatened to change that, with many expressing a greater desire to live in urban locations, but their numbers lately are showing a shift to the suburbs.
The suburbs are outstripping down towns in overall population growth, diversity, and younger residents, according to a new study of population trends and housing by the Urban Land Institute’s Terwilliger Center for Housing.
Seventy-nine percent of the population in the 50 largest metros live in suburban areas. From 2000 to 2015, suburban areas accounted for 91 percent of the population growth and 84 percent of the household growth, the study shows. What’s more, three-quarters of people age 25 to 34 in those metro areas are opting to live in the suburbs.
The main motivators that have traditionally sent people packing to the suburbs are still high priorities today: Lower-cost of housing and proximity to jobs. In 2014, about two-thirds of jobs in the 50 largest metros were located in the suburbs.
The study’s findings, however, also note several challenges ahead for suburbs as they face swelling populations. For example, researchers note that city officials will need to evaluate how they provide services such as public transportation in less-affluent suburban areas, particularly as more people become spread out and the fact that there are less established nonprofit bases in the suburbs than urban areas.
Source: “Evolving U.S. Suburbs Continue to Shape Residential Demand and Development,” Urban Land Institute (Dec. 5, 2016) and “Suburbs Outstrip Cities in Population Growth, Study Finds,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 5, 2016) [Log-in required]