Some families may be of the firm sentiment that their babies should be raised as country mice, while others thank their lucky stars — none of which they can see — that they are a family in the big city. But a noted asterisk in the grand city vs. country debate for parents should be the fact that families aren’t migrating to those wide open spaces like they have in the past.
The Los Angeles Times reports that this “milestone” switch revealed that cities as a whole grew by 1.1% from 2010 to 2011, and suburbs increased by 0.9% across the entire country. Yet, the shift in American suburban sentiment isn’t simply about families preferring traffic and noise. Just like with our declining birth rate, experts are citing that pesky recession:
The shift toward cities, experts said, underscores the profound effects of the 2007-09 recession, which sharply slowed the formation of families and what had been an inexorable migration to the outer edges of the city.
“The sharp downturn in the suburban housing market has left many cities holding on to would-be suburbanites,” Frey said. “I don’t predict that cities will continue to dominate growth to the detriment of further suburban development. But it’s certainly put the brakes on something that’s been a staple in America.”
So, “would-be surbanites” are kicking around their city homes a little longer than they would otherwise because they can’ afford to buy those sprawling suburban homes. Instead they’re either “doubling up” with roommates or moving back into their own parents’ home to then start families of their own. Ah, the new economic circle of life.