It is a feeling deeply embedded in the American psyche—most of human history actually and particularly for those of us fortunate enough to live in the suburbs bordering the American River Parkway—to live in “their own home, with a front and back yard, however small, in a safe neighborhood with good schools,” and the generations now coming of age in America, feel the same urge, as this article from New Geography reveals.
“Back in the 1950s and 60s when Baby Boomers were young, places like Los Angeles led the nation’s explosive growth in suburban living that has defined the American Dream ever since. As Kevin Roderick observed, the San Fernando Valley became, by extension, “America’s suburb” – a model which would be repeated in virtually every community across the country.
“These suburbs – perfectly suited to the sun-washed car culture of Southern California – have remained the ideal for most Americans. And they remain so for the children of Boomer and Generation X parents, Millennials,(born 1982-2003), who express the same strong interest in raising their families in suburban settings.
“According to the most recent generational survey research, done for Washington-based think tank, NDN, by Frank N. Magid Associates, 43 percent of Millennials describe suburbs as their “ideal place to live,” compared to just 31 percent of older generations. In the same survey, a majority of older generations (56%) expressed a preference for either small town or rural living. This may reflect the roots of many older Americans, who are more likely to have grown up outside of a major metropolis, or it may indicate a desire of older people for a presumably simpler lifestyle.
“By contrast, these locations were cited by only 34 percent of Millennials as their preferred place to live. A majority (54%) of Millennials live in suburban America and most of those who do express a preference for raising their own families in similar settings. Even though big cities are often thought of as the place where young people prefer to live and work, only 17 percent of Millennials say they want to live in one, less than a third of those expressing a preference for suburban living. Nor are they particularly anxious to spend their lives as renters in dense, urban locations. A full 64 percent of Millennials surveyed, said it was “very important” to have an opportunity to own their own home. Twenty percent of adult Millennials named owning a home as one of their most important priorities in life, right behind being a good parent and having a successful marriage.
“This suggests that some of the greatest opportunities in housing will be in those metropolitan areas that can provide the same amenities of suburban life that Los Angeles did sixty years ago. In this Millennials are just like their parents who moved to the suburbs in order to buy their own home, with a front and back yard, however small, in a safe neighborhood with good schools.”