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.

Read Time: 2 minutes

June 3, 2008, 1:00 PM PDT

By Nate Berg


"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

Tuesday, June 3, 2008 in The Economist

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