Friday, March 25, 2016

More Americans Are Again Moving to Suburbs Than Cities

It is so easy to believe things that are simply not true.  For one thing, something may be said so much that you just assume it is true and secondly, your observation may influence your thinking when what you are observing may not be typical.  Until reading this article in the Wall Street Jornal, I would have thought that people are flocking to cities and that there had been a basic change in the way we live. Not so.

I myself like living in the city. Well, not exactly downtown but close to downtown. I would not want to live in a downtown high-rise condo. I would not want to give up my car.  I want do be able to dig in the dirt. I like flowers and having a yard. I live within two miles of the center of downtown however and can walk to a coffee shop, a couple restaurants, a couple convenience stores, and a Dollar General. I am within two miles of a Krogers, a liquor store, my bank and my drug store.  I am also within about 5 miles of several hospitals and my and my wife's doctors. I seldom have to drive further than five miles from my home. Downtown traffic doesn't bother me, because I can take Uber from my house to downtown cheaper than I can park. I would not want to live in the country.  The country is a nice place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there.

Seeing all the growth in Nashville, I had assumed every one wanted to live downtown and the suburbs had lost their appeal. Well, that is simply not correct. Except for a one year abnormality, the suburbs are growing faster than the urban areas.

There is no political point to this post except to say policy makers should base their policies on solid facts, not opinion, and issue like affordable housing, poverty, and mass transit and where to invest resources should not be based on faulty assumptions. It is undeniable that a change has occurred and continues to occur in many urban areas.  At one time, the cities were abandoned and left to be occupied by only poor people and now, cities are being "gentrified" and the poor are moving to the suburbs.  

Cities have become desirable places to live again but that does not mean most people do not still prefer to live in the suburbs. As this article points out, "population trends underscore that people flocking to cities remain a select class, mostly of the young, educated and affluent who can afford rising prices. In the meantime, America overall continues to suburbanize."  For more on this, read More Americans Are Again Moving to Suburbs Than Cities.

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