The Suburban Life = The Dream

Suburban Life

Since the early 20th century, the typical suburban life style had become the “American dream”.  An affordable, new way of living outside of the city, swept the nation.  The migration of the 1950’s became the trend, at the beginning of the century, as families moved to the suburban areas from the big cities.  “Little boxes” began to take over the rural areas that became the suburban towns. These little boxes, all identical in shape and size, began to illustrate the suburban picture. This new suburban dream became the way of living and more importantly, the way every American wanted to live.

The American dream became a reality when the move from the city to the suburbs began predominately in the 1950’s.  The stereotypical home, with the matching car and perfect family became the new American life.

As history unfolds in the years to pass, the craze of the suburban life style changes. The major shift from suburban life to city life took a turn in the late 20th century.  The city life became the popular life style and way of living for many Americans.  In the year 1986, the population in in cities skyrocketed from a mere 600 million in 1950 to 2 billion in 1986. Now statistics show a change.  In the year 2000, 25-34 year olds were living in cities, in the year 2010, 35 – 44 year olds were surprisingly moved back into the suburbs.  According to the past decades Census data, the suburban population grew 12 percent while dropping 22.7 percent in the core cities.

The “hip and cool” core cities like San Francisco, New York and Boston have also suffered double-digit percent losses among this generation. New York City, for example, saw its 25 to 34 population of 2000 drop by over 15 percent — a net loss of over 200,000 people — a decade later. – Return to the Suburbs is the new move to the city- MSNBC


Why are americans suddenly moving back toward the suburban life style?

According to a survey by Frank Madid and Associates, Generation Y (born 1970’s to present) consider the suburbs as their “ideal place” to settle.

When asking our class ” would you like to live in the suburbs or the city, why did many of us chose the suburbs ?



  1. The one question that constantly pops up in discussing the suburban life, is what exactly is a suburb? it seems like the definition has multiple meaning and its characteristics change depending on the environment. To me, a simple defining trait is whether or not one can reasonably walk from their home in order to get all the necessites of living (food, clothing, etc.) But then there is also the point of the suburb, being a counterpart to a local city, that one can commute to and fro. I personally grew up in a prototypical suburb in which without a car, I was stranded at home with few close by attractions; it wasn’t pleasant. Yet I can appreciate why people enjoy and aspire to live in the suburbs rather than the city: one can buy a larger home and fill it with larger stuff and create a space that simulates all the entertaining and sustaining necessitates within. Yet, what about communities or places that exist in between the suburb and the city?; i am curious to see whether the recent return to the suburb movements are solely for the types described above, or for other types of living spaces.

  2. jgongola

    Interesting post about suburbs. It was interesting to see the changes in American desire in which place they preferred to live in. I find it interesting how in the 1950s after the Second World War, it is interesting how you point out how many families moved to suburbs. I think that has to do with many family members who lived during the depression of 1930s and wanted to grow up in a “happier” environment. It was interesting how you bring up new suburban dream of not just a house but a car. In today’s society I can’t imagine a family surviving without at least one car. I also find it interesting how you are talking about how today people are moving back to the suburbs. Personally I was raised to believe that cities were where crime was rampant and suburbs were safer so it’s interesting to see that everyone didn’t always believe that was case.

  3. nstocco

    The suburban areas offer an alternative to the rural and urban lifestyle, giving may Americans the best of both worlds. It mixes parks and open areas with shopping malls and downtowns. Suburbs are so attractive because it offers a reprieve from urban life. Located within travel distance from cities, families are able to go to work but retreat home, escaping the cities where crime and noise trap them into the concrete jungle. Suburban areas have lower crime rates and offer a safe and stable community for their children to grow up in, with better schools and recreation. The suburbs allow the city man or woman to continue to hold their jobs while bringing their children up in a safe and close knit community, giving them the ability to have the best of both worlds.

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