Diversity Spreads From Cities to Suburbs

The suburbs are becoming the inner-city, according to recent studies that are showing a shift in suburban demographics from predominantly white to incredibly diverse.

"As they swell, the suburbs are changing. Perhaps none ever quite resembled the colourless domestic enclaves popularised by 1970s television programmes such as 'The Brady Bunch'; now, they look nothing at all like them. America's suburbs are ethnically and demographically mixed-sometimes more so than its cities. Many are less dormitories than economic powerhouses. Among the most changed is one of the most famous."

"These days Willingboro is two-thirds black. Although it remains child-oriented, it is no longer exclusively so. One in eight residents is now aged 65 or over. As the proportion of children has fallen, schools have been converted to other uses. One has been turned into a community centre where, on a recent Friday afternoon, an R&B band entertained a mixed-race crowd of old folk. The music drifted into a small room where Muslims, a growing presence in the neighbourhood, had gathered for prayers."

"Such diversity is now common in suburbia. According to William Frey, a demographer, the white population of big-city suburbs grew by 7% between 2000 and 2006. In the same period the suburban Asian population grew by 16%, the black population by 24% and the Hispanic population by an astonishing 60%. Many immigrants to America now move directly to the suburbs without passing through established urban ghettos. Having conquered suburbia, ethnic-minority groups are now swiftly infiltrating the more distant 'exurbs.'"

Thanks to ArchNewsNow

Full Story: An age of transformation

Comments

Comments

Michael Lewyn's picture
Blogger

yes but not in a good way

The Economist article understates the problems of many suburbs. Its not just that suburbs are failing to match cities' success in cutting crime; some suburbs are turning into outright slums. As inner-city poverty moves to suburbs, so do inner-city ills.

old news?

This was all relevant 5 years ago. With $4 a gallon gas that's unlikely to change significantly, the future and even the present are much different.

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95