The Rise of Suburbia
 
Estimated Number of Printed Pages: 2
 
TOPICS COVERED: Many people today imagine suburbs to be an ideal place for raising children. But when people first began leaving the cities for the 'burbs, they left the rest of their family behind. Very often this was exactly the attraction - to get out from under the control of an aging Mom and Dad. In this era, The Nuclear Family as Ideal was minted.
 
MEMOS ON RELATED INFORMATION: Industrialization/Urbanization, Migration, Family Structures (Modern Era), Idealization of the Family
 
Links to Sources for this material are available below. Please also see The Factbook Sources page for further information regarding Factbook sources and their availability.
 
 
 

THE RISE OF SUBURBIA

 
 
 
England, around 1790
Apparently, about as soon as cities began to grow rapidly, people began to complain that they were places of moral and physical decay. By the late 1700s, the English began to establish homes outside of cities – considering these to be safe refuges for the wife and family while the men carried on business in the lecherous cities. The first of what would become the modern suburb began outside of London, in 1790. There were nascent versions of them in the U.S. by the mid-1800s. 1.
 
 
 
While the suburbs of the 1950s had tended to be exclusively residential neighborhoods, populated mostly by white, middle-class families, within 20 years, there was a substantial variation these communities – from class (working class suburbs to wealthy communities) to race (with white and black suburbia). By the 1990s, suburbs included industrial and commercial centers, business communities that meant people commuted from suburb to another suburb for work, instead of from suburb to the city. 2.
 
 
 
Less than a third –
28 percent – of the U.S. population lived in metropolitan areas in 1910. 3.
 
 
 
More than half
of the U.S. population lived in metropolitan areas by 1950. 4.
 
 
 
80 percent
of the U.S. population lived in metropolitan areas by 2000. 5.
 
 
 
Almost one-third of Americans
lived in a metropolitan area of at least five million or more in 2000. 6.
 
 
 
Half
of the U.S. population lives in suburbs. 7.
 
 
 
21 percent
of the total U.S. population lived in central cities in 1910. 8.
 
 
 
Seven percent
of the U.S. population lived in suburbs in 1910. 9.
 
 
 
30.3 percent
of the total U.S. population lived in central cities in 2000. 10.
 
 
 
Half
of the U.S. population in 2000 lived in suburbs. 11.
 
 
 
About half
of U.S. adults 65 and over lived in the suburbs in 2000. 12.
 
 
 
60.2 percent
of all U.S. housing units built between 1990 and 2001 were built in suburban areas. 13.
 
 
 
6.3 percent
In 1980, blacks made up just 6.3 percent of suburban residents, but they were 23.4 percent of city residents. 14.
 
 
 
In 1969, about the same percentage of poor whites lived in suburbs as those who lived in central cities (23.5 to 25.3 percent respectively). But just 11.9 percent of poor blacks lived in the suburbs, while 42.5 percent lived in central cities. 15.
 
 
 
More than one-half
of whites and Asians in the U.S. lived in suburbs in 1995. 16.
 
 
 
43 percent
of Hispanics in the U.S. lived in suburbs in 1995. 17.
 
 
 
Educational attainment

Historically, for U.S. Nonhispanic whites, Hispanics and Asians with a higher educational attainment have lived in the suburbs. However, in the 1980s-1990s, college-educated whites were actually slightly more likely to live in cities, than the suburbs. 18.
 
 
On the other hand, educational attainment didn't seem to have a direct relationship with suburban life for U.S. blacks: they stayed in the cities. Until the 1980s – when the percentage of blacks with college degrees who lived in the suburbs increased. 19.

 
 
32 percent
of blacks in the U.S. lived in suburbs in 1990. 20.
 
 
 
Less than one-third
of blacks in the U.S. lived in suburbs in 1995. 21.
 
 
 
99 percent
of Milwaukee's suburbs are racially segregated. The city itself is more integrated – 21.7 percent there live in integrated blocks. 22.
 
 
 
Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Boston,
Examples of U.S. metropolitan areas where the suburbs are more racially segregated than are the central cities. For example, in the central city of Minneapolis, 23 percent of its population lives on black-white integrated blocks, but that falls to just six percent for the entire Minneapolis-St. Paul area. Similarly, 12 percent of those in Boston's city proper live on black-white integrated blocks, but just four percent do in the entire metro area (meaning, including outlying suburbs). 23.
 
 
 
Washington, DC, and Atlanta
Examples of U.S. metropolitan areas where the suburbs are less racially segregated than are its central cities. In central Washington, just 11 percent live on integrated blocks, but if the suburbs are included, 20 percent live in integrated blocks. Only nine percent of Atlanta's urban population live on integrated blocks, but, it's double that – 18 percent – for the entire metro area. 24.
 
 
 
8.2 percent
of surburbanites were in poverty in 2001 (up from 7.8 percent in 2000) – compared to 16.5 percent of city residents. 25.
 
 
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1. See discussion in Laura J. Miller, "Family Togetherness and the Suburban Ideal," Sociological Forum, Vol. 10, No. 3., pp. 393-418 (September 1995), pp. 396-398. Archived at: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0884-8971%28199509%2910%3A3%3C393%3AFTATSI%3E2.0.CO%3B2-C
2. William Sharpe and Leonard Wallock, "Bold New City or Built-Up 'Burb? Redefining Contemporary Suburbia," American Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1., pp. 1-30 (March 1994), pp. 1-2, 7. Archived at: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0678%28199403%2946%3A1%3C1%3ABNCOB%27%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V and Robert Fishman, "Urbanity and Suburbanity: Rethinking the 'Burbs," Comments: [Bold New City or Built-Up 'Burb? Redefining Contemporary Suburbia], American Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1. pp. 35-39 (March 1994), pp. 35-37. Archived at: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0678%28199403%2946%3A1%3C35%3AUASRT%27%3E2.0.CO%3B2-S
3. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
4. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
5. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
6. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 7. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
7. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 7. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
8. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
9. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
10. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
11. Frank Hobbs and Nicole Stoops, Demographic Trends in the 20th Century, US Census Bureau, Census 2000 Special Reports, CENSR-4, US Government Printing Office, Washington, DC (November 2002), p. 33. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/censr-4.pdf
12. ________, "Country's Older Population Profiled by the U.S. Census Bureau," Press Release, Census Bureau (June 1, 2001). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/mobility_of_the_population/000335.html
13. ________, "Housing: Physical Characteristics," American FactFinder, U.S. Census Bureau (last revised: November 15, 2004)(citations omitted). Accessed at: http://factfinder.census.gov/jsp/saff/SAFFInfo.jsp?_pageId=tp13_housing_physical
14. William Sharpe and Leonard Wallock, "Bold New City or Built-Up 'Burb? Redefining Contemporary Suburbia," American Quarterly, Vol. 46, No. 1., pp. 1-30 (March 1994), p. 7. Archived at: http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0003-0678%28199403%2946%3A1%3C1%3ABNCOB%27%3E2.0.CO%3B2-V
15. ________, Poverty In the United States: 1959 to 1968, Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 68, U.S. Census Bureau, Government Printing Office, Washington DC (1969), p. 7. Archived at: http://www2.census.gov/prod2/popscan/p60-68a.pdf
16. William H. Frey and Elaine L. Fielding, "Changing Urban Populations: Regional Restructuring, Racial Polarization, and Poverty Concentration," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research • Volume 1, No. 2 (June 1995), pp. 16-17. Archived at: http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol1num2/ch1.pdf
17. William H. Frey and Elaine L. Fielding, "Changing Urban Populations: Regional Restructuring, Racial Polarization, and Poverty Concentration," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research • Volume 1, No. 2 (June 1995), pp. 16-17. Archived at: http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol1num2/ch1.pdf
18. William H. Frey and Elaine L. Fielding, "Changing Urban Populations: Regional Restructuring, Racial Polarization, and Poverty Concentration," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research • Volume 1, No. 2 (June 1995), pp. 18-19. Archived at: http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol1num2/ch1.pdf
19. William H. Frey and Elaine L. Fielding, "Changing Urban Populations: Regional Restructuring, Racial Polarization, and Poverty Concentration," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research • Volume 1, No. 2 (June 1995), pp. 18-19. Archived at: http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol1num2/ch1.pdf
20. William H. Frey and Elaine L. Fielding, "Changing Urban Populations: Regional Restructuring, Racial Polarization, and Poverty Concentration," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research • Volume 1, No. 2 (June 1995), p. 17. Archived at: http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol1num2/ch1.pdf
21. William H. Frey and Elaine L. Fielding, "Changing Urban Populations: Regional Restructuring, Racial Polarization, and Poverty Concentration," Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development • Office of Policy Development and Research • Volume 1, No. 2 (June 1995), pp. 16-17. Archived at: http://www.huduser.org/periodicals/cityscpe/vol1num2/ch1.pdf
22. Based on a block-by-block analysis. John Goering, "Segregation, Race and Bias: The Role of the US Census," Comments (Undated), p. 9 (citing Quinn report) Archived at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/housing_patterns/pdf/goering.pdf p. 9, and Lois M. Quinn and John Pawasarat, Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns, Employment and Training Institute, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (December 2002, revised January 2003), p. 11. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/housing_patterns/pdf/quinn.pdf
23. Lois M. Quinn and John Pawasarat, Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns, Employment and Training Institute, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (December 2002, revised January 2003), p. 11. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/housing_patterns/pdf/quinn.pdf
24. Lois M. Quinn and John Pawasarat, Racial Integration in Urban America: A Block Level Analysis of African American and White Housing Patterns, Employment and Training Institute, School of Continuing Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (December 2002, revised January 2003), p. 11. Archived at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/housing/housing_patterns/pdf/quinn.pdf
25. Bernadette D. Proctor and Joseph Dalaker, Poverty in the United States: 2001, Current Population Reports, P60-219. U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC. (September 2002). Archived at: http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/p60-219.pdf p. 8