Vast Majority of Consumers Prefer the Suburbs

Americans’ preference for the suburbs has been demonized, and metro Atlanta’s spread-out suburbs have earned it the label of “poster child for sprawl.”

Despite this push toward central cities, consumer preference remains single-family homes in the suburbs, Joel Kotkin writes in NewGeography: “Overall surveys tend to show that roughly 80 percent of adults prefer single-family houses, usually in either suburbs or exurbs.

“Of course, many insist that, in the aftermath of the 2007 housing bust, Americans now are finally unlearning their bad habits. In 2010, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan, pointing to the flood of foreclosures in suburban reaches of Phoenix, claimed that the die, indeed, was already cast. “We’ve reached the limits of suburban development,” Donovan claimed. “People are beginning to vote with their feet and come back to the central cities.”

“Yet, although the Great Recession certainly slowed overall migration to suburbs, numbers for 2011, the most recent available, showed domestic migrants continued to head away from core counties and toward those in the suburbs and exurbs. Now that the economy is improving, this trend seems likely to continue, or even accelerate.”
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