Death knell for the suburbs?
The latest census data show that Americans are leaving the far-flung suburbs to live in and around more urban areas. Could this finally be the end of sprawl?
Is the suburb finished?
New census data tell us what we have been hearing for months: Homebuyers and renters are bypassing the exurbs and choosing instead to live in urban centers.
"There's a pall being cast on the outer edges," John McIlwain, a fellow at the Urban Land Institute, told USA Today. "The foreclosures, the vacancies, the uncompleted roads. It's uncomfortable out there. The glitz is off."
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According to census estimates released today, the number of Americans living in exurbs grew just 0.4% between 2010 and 2011, compared with a growth rate of 0.8% for cities and their surroundings. That compares with 2.1% growth for far-flung residential areas in 2006, when cities reported population losses of 0.2%, The Associated Press reported.
According to analyses of the data by USA Today and AP:
- All but two of the 39 counties with more than 1 million residents gained population between 2010 and 2011. The two exceptions were Wayne (Detroit) and Cuyahoga (Cleveland).
- Twenty-eight of those big counties grew faster than the national average and accounted for one-third of all U.S. growth. Those counties accounted for 27% of U.S. growth during the boom.
- Ninety-nine of the 100 fastest-growing exurbs and outer suburbs saw slower growth or no growth in 2011 compared with during the boom (the exception was Spotsylvania County, Va., outside Washington, D.C.). Almost three-quarters saw slower growth in 2011 than in 2010.
You can see an interactive map at USA Today.
The decline in popularity of outlying areas has been influenced by the rising cost of gas, the steep decline in property values, the deterioration of some exurbs and the preference of Gen Y and baby boomers – the country's two largest demographic groups – for more urban environments.
"The heyday of exurbs may well be behind us," economist Robert J. Shiller, one of the creators of the S&P/Case-Shiller housing index, told AP. "Suburban housing prices may not recover in our lifetime."
Not everyone is ready to write the obituary for the sprawl into the exurbs.
"Sprawl is the Freddy Krueger of American development," Robert Lang, author of "Megapolitan America" and an urban affairs professor in Las Vegas, told USA Today. "It's always pronounced dead and yet somehow springs back to life."
Read Barack Obama's book SPREADING THE WEALTH. You will understand what is happening to the suburbs.
You can keep your hustle and bustle traffic congested downtown area....
My family likes the burbs...
Whoever wrote this is just looking at numbers, and probably lives in a downtown high-rise..
Different strokes for different folks...
Let me say there is a distinct difference between Suburbia and the country. STANDUP AMERICANS,CJR_pilot are talking about the country NOT suburbia. Really how is living in little boxes called houses that look like everyone elses with 1/4 acre lots really THAT much different from some one living in a condo in the city near a park. I lived in what I call psuedo-suburbia. Yes I was 30 minutes from a bigger city but my house was/is on an acre of land so I was not crammed into shady acres sub-division. but it was not country .. not raising my own food, at least none that would sustain much more that a few weeks I also could not keep chickens cows or any other domesticated animal other than a dog or cat.
There are 3 distinct living areas for americans. City, Suburbs, and Country get them right when you discuss them
burbs are Awfully Boring but you do get more peace, but I miss the excitement of the city.
I'm a city girl and party girl at heart. I love NY
I was born and raised in NYC and I hate it. I'm totally a suburbanite!!
It's that yearning for wide open spaces, less competition for food, self determination and peace that's has always driven mankind away from Urbanity. Without the rural open spaces to cultivate the metro man would starve. What will change is the transportation methods used and with it the reasons cities exist at all, industry, banking and commerce will fail and cities will become dangerous place to try to survive in.
Personally I prefer the suburbs but people act like everyone is middle class.
Wow. Conclusions: jumped to.
Posters, the article CEARLY states that counties with already over 1M pop grew twice as fast as less populated counties nearby. Consider Chicago: every county surrounding Cook Co is at least 1M. That means that all those near-in suburban communities grew faster than the counties farther out. That means that people are trading the exurbs for the near-in suburbs. People are finding housing closer to the CBD. The old axiom "drive 'til you can buy" is fading away. With the housing price depression and skyrocketing commuting costs, people are able to live closer in where people earning more than them have traditionally lived.
About Teresa Mears
Teresa Mears is a veteran journalist who has been interested in houses since her father took her to tax auctions to carry the cash at age 10. A former editor of The Miami Herald's Home & Design section, she lives in South Florida where, in addition to writing about real estate, she publishes Miami on the Cheap to help her neighbors adjust to the loss of 60% of their property value.