For the very first time in 20 years, cities in the United States are out-growing suburbs. The new census estimates that a change in population trends followed an extended housing bust thanks in part to the spike in oil prices. Americans are choosing to stay put in big cities. This may have consequence for the residential “exurbs” right on the edge of metropolitan areas.
Because it was estimated that these areas would just keep growing, construction of new schools and mega-malls could be cutting back. Mansions that were being built promising middle-class families beautiful homes are sitting empty or unfinished. These suburban regions are showing bigger jumps in poverty than bigger cities.
America is at a turning point. The heyday of exurbs is long gone. It is shifting away from the faraway suburbs because of consistently rising gas prices. Part of the shift is also thanks to changing demographics. There are more young single people who are in no rush to get married and have children, and therefore more likely to rent. There are also the baby-boomers who prefer closer urban centers within walking distance of their home.
Overall, 99 out of the 100 fastest-growing exurbs and outer suburbs saw little or no growth in 2011, compared with the mid-decade boom. There is one exception in Spotsylvania County, VA., right outside of Washington D.C. This metropolitan area has boomed even throughout the downturn. About three-fourths of the leading 100 outer suburban areas also saw slower growth as compared to 2010.
Over the past ten years the number of low-income level people living in suburbs of major metro areas grew 53%, while in the cities only 23%. The suburbs were home to about one-third of the nation’s poor population, outranking both cities and rural areas. Another factor in the shift is that people are simply not moving. Only 11.6% of the population moved to a new home in 2011. This is the lowest number since the government began keeping track. Some of the metro areas seeing new growth, or less loss are Los Angeles, Miami, Seattle and Detroit.