Younger Americans Don’t Hate Suburbia

October 29, 2019

 

As a college professor who teaches courses about politics and geography at an extremely progressive liberal arts college, my students regularly want to talk about the narratives surrounding deep urban-rural divides which routinely make the news or the seemingly endless stories abound about urban renewal and its proclivity for innovation and how rich urban social life can be.

 

However, no one wants to discuss the state of America’s suburbs let alone talk about living in them one day. My students often see life in suburbia as a social dead-end filled with Republicans, a place of economic stagnation, and embrace historian Kenneth Jackson’s famous line in Crabgrass Frontier that, “There are few places as desolate and lonely as a suburban street on a hot afternoon.”

 

Sadly, my students’ impressions of suburban life are often incorrect. Not only have many studies have revealed that America’s suburbs are areas of continued demographic growth notably among younger generations of Americans along with economic opportunity, but new data from AEI’s “Survey on Community and Society” shows that suburbs are also politically diverse places where younger

Americans report having vibrant social lives and dynamic economic opportunities.

 

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