Remember when everyone was leaving the city and fleeing to the suburbs with its massive malls, open spaces, and big box stores? Well, for the first time in decades, America’s cities are growing at a faster rate than the suburbs, as young Americans are choosing to marry later, delay home-buying, and are staying in city centers.
The shift in how Americans are choosing to live their lives was illustrated by recent Census data.
Driving the resurgence are young adults, who are delaying careers, marriage, and having children amid persistently high unemployment. Burdened with college debt or toiling in temporary, lower-wage positions, they are spurning homeownership in the suburbs for shorter-term, no-strings-attached apartment living, public transit, and proximity to potential jobs in larger cities.
While economists tend to believe the city boom is temporary, that is not stopping many city planning agencies and apartment developers from seeking to boost their appeal to the sizable demographic of 18-to-29-year-olds. They make up roughly 1 in 6 Americans, and some sociologists are calling them “generation rent.” The planners and developers are betting on young Americans’ continued interest in urban living, sensing that some longer-term changes such as decreased reliance on cars may be afoot.
Cities that saw the biggest growth spurts were New Orleans; Atlanta; Denver; Washington, D.C.; and Charlotte, N.C. Other major cities, such as Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, also saw large gains.
Do you live in the city or the suburbs? Which one do you prefer?