Some might see the suburbs as a relic of the past. But a recent report from WalletHub indicates that Americans might just be leaving the big cities behind and embracing the perks of a more spread out life. The 2017 Fastest-Growing Cities in America report tracked population growth, income growth, job growth, GDP growth, and poverty rates of more than 500 cities to determine the fastest and slowest growing U.S. cities. Interestingly, the study found that smaller and mid-sized cities are now growing faster than ever, while bigger cities are struggling to maintain their populations.
For the report, each city was given a score out of a hundred to track its total growth. Austin and Charlotte were the only large cities with populations greater than 300,000 to rank in the top 20. Instead, smaller cities like Frisco, TX, Kent, WA, and Meridian, ID rose to the top thanks to high population growth and thriving economies.
While this report is a win for the suburbian apologist, it does raise the question: How is this possible when baby boomers seem to have such a strong hold on the suburbs? Back in the eighties and nineties, baby boomers furiously raced to occupy the suburbs and show no signs of giving their houses up, making it even more impossible for millennials to buy homes.
The answer to the question lies in a quick scan of a map and understanding where people are actually moving. These young up-and-comers aren’t moving to the East Coast, Southern California, or other densely populated areas in America (with the slight exception of the greater Seattle area). Instead, they are opting to try their luck in sparsely populated cities and states with the hope of avoiding the overpriced suffocation that most Americans have come to accept as normal. Does this study mean that urbanization in America is dead? No. But it might mean that the suburbs are ready for a comeback.