Americans flocked to the far-flung suburbs, or exurbs, in the early 2000s; but these areas subsequently were hit hardest by the housing collapse. While images of ghost subdivisions led many to believe that Americans no longer cared for exurban living, new Census data reveals that population growth in the far-out suburbs is picking up steam again. Dense counties at the center of large metro areas grew faster than the exurbs between 2011 and 2013, but Brookings Institution demographer William Frey says the exurbs are now sprouting faster than urban locales. However, he notes, “It’s not going to be reverting back to the early part of 2000s when we had this maniac exurban and suburban growth.” It has been difficult for demographers to determine whether the shift from the exurbs was about economics or preference. “I think a lot of this so-called return to the city has a lot to do with people kind of being stuck in place because they can’t qualify for a mortgage, they can’t get a job, they’re still paying tuition, they’re living in their parents’ basement,” says Frey. “All of that is a time-specific, almost generation-specific phenomenon. It’s hard to pull that out and say this just means people are going to stay in the city.” | Read More