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A resurgence in urban living? Trends in residential location patterns of young and older adults since 2000

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Some have heralded a resurgence of urban living in the U.S., particularly among young adults. Are Americans abandoning suburbs in favor of more urban lifestyles? What is the scope and scale of this urban resurgence? We develop a typology of neighborhoods to analyze the residential location of young and older U.S. adults from 2000 to 2011–15. Census and national travel survey data reveal that suburban population growth continues to outpace that in urban neighborhoods. Although young adults are more likely than older adults to live in urban neighborhoods, recent urban population growth is neither associated with suburban decline, nor being led by young adults. Significant recent population growth in the newest, suburban neighborhoods suggests that greenfield development remains the primary means to increase American housing supply. Shifting metropolitan growth from the suburban fringe would likely require expanding housing supply in urban neighborhoods, and bringing urban amenities to established inner-ring suburbs.
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Keywords: Urban living; residential location; young adults

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Transportation Studies, UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, Los Angeles, CA, USA 2: School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR, USA 3: Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick, NJ, USA 4: Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, CA, USA

Publication date: October 21, 2019

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