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3 Most Desirable Places To Live

3 Most Desirable Places To Live

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About seven-in-10 whites rate their current community as “excellent” or “very good”;

only about half of Hispanics and four-in-10 blacks say the same. Rural and

suburban residents rate their communities better than do residents of cities and

small towns.

People who live in a city – as well as people who wish to live in a city – are more

open than others to the idea of living with neighbors who are of different races.

They are also more open to living among immigrants.

When it comes to community involvement, there is no difference among those who

live in cities, suburbs, small towns, or rural areas. About half of the residents in

each place say they are involved in their communities.



5.4 Satisfaction With Communities

A study by the Urban Land Institute (www.uli.org) assessed Americans’

satisfaction with their communities, housing, and transportation and what they want for

themselves and their families. The study was based on a survey of homeowners by

Belden Russonello Strategists (www.brspoll.com). The following is a summary of the

Urban Land Institute assessment:

Quality of Life

• Ninety percent (90%) of American adults are satisfied with their community’s quality

of life, and few worry that these communities are in danger of deteriorating. Groups

who are least satisfied with where they currently live, such as Latinos and big-city

residents, tend to be the ones who are the most optimistic and who think their

communities are on the upswing.

Community

• About a third of the American public live in what they consider small towns, a third in

middle-sized or big cities, 21% in suburbs, and 15% in rural areas. If given a choice,

a quarter say they would like to be living in rural communities.

Satisfaction With Residence

• Be it single-family houses, apartments, or other structures, most adults like where

they live. Nine in 10 adults report satisfaction with their current dwelling, and four in

five are happy with the range of housing choices in their communities. Even among

pockets of less contentment with housing, for example among Millennial adults

(ages 18-to-34), Latinos, and big-city residents, dissatisfaction does not rise to high

levels.

Home Ownership

• Seven in 10 believe that buying a home is a good investment for them, even in the

aftermath of the housing and mortgage difficulties of the last few years. Two-thirds

of survey respondents said they own their home and seven in 10 renters are hopeful

that within five years they will join the ranks of home ownership.



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Single-Family Homes

• Two-thirds of the survey participants say they live in detached single-family homes

and the remainder live in apartments, duplexes, row houses, and manufactured

homes. Among those who believe they will move in the next five years, the appeal

of the single-family home is strong, with two-thirds expecting to move into or remain

in a detached single-family home.

Mixed-Use Development

• Two groups have high interest in mixed-use development:

- Young people and college graduates who are most enthusiastic about living in

centers with shops and offices nearby.

- Lower-income groups who would like to live in areas with more variety in housing

type and economic diversity.

• Both of these groups share an interest in living close to where they work or go to

school. They prefer to live in areas with public transit and would choose shorter

commutes with smaller homes over longer commutes and bigger houses.

The Appeal of Compact Development

• While much of the public expresses a desire for single-family homes and rural and

small town life, there are competing pressures and needs that make compact

development more attractive. Proximity to jobs, schools, and medical services, as

well as a community’s walkability, are powerful draws for many Americans.

Commuting and Driving

• Most Americans travel by car, truck, or motorcycle nearly every day, and when the

two-thirds who commute regularly go to their jobs or school 85% travel in a car.

• Travel times to work or school divide in relative thirds: fewer than fifteen minutes,

fifteen minutes to half an hour, and over half an hour. Rural and suburban residents

and African Americans have the longest commutes; about half need thirty minutes

or more to travel to their job or school.

Public Transportation

• Overall, one in 10 commuters use public transit to get to school or work. Reliance

on buses and trains is highest among people of color and, naturally, residents of

urban areas. The public that is served by buses and trains say the quality of their

public transit systems is satisfactory; however, half of those who do not have access

to trains and buses are discontent with the lack of public transportation.

Walkability

• Americans place high priority on having communities that are walkable, and most

are already at least somewhat content with this aspect of their own communities:

70% say their local sidewalks and crosswalks are satisfactory. One in five walk to a

destination most days, and almost one-half do so at least once a week.



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Job Market Dissatisfaction

• One area of some discontent with community life is the number and quality of job

and career opportunities. More than two in five say this situation in their community

is unsatisfactory. This is a problem most acutely felt by people of color and rural

residents and, to a smaller degree, Millennials and Baby Boomers.

Migration

• Almost one-third of survey respondents said they moved to a different home in the

last five years. The highest percentages of those who moved were young people,

residents of large cities, and lower-income households. Most of those who moved

did so because they sought larger homes. Two in five households anticipate moving

within the next five years. Among Baby Boomers (ages 48-to-66), Caucasians, and

Midwesterners anticipating a move, the majority say they would prefer moving to a

rural location. Most Generation Yers, people of color, Westerners, and singles

expressed an interest in urban living.



5.5 Generational Preferences

As Americans age and their incomes rise and then fall, their housing and

community preferences vary.

Millennials (ages 18-to-34), half of whom are people of color, show the strongest

preference for mixed-use communities. Most currently have an urban, apartment-living

lifestyle. At the same time, Millennials are among the least satisfied with where they

live and the most likely to be anticipating moving. They want walkable communities and

use public transit more than others, although they are still very car dependent.

Many Generation Xers are in the child-rearing life stage and prefer single-family

home ownership. While many members of Generation X are anticipating moving, they

are not likely to be looking for mixed-use communities, nor to push for mass transit.

This group has the largest percentages of high-income members, and if they move they

will be seeking to buy single-family homes.

Baby Boomers, the middle ground on housing and transportation preferences

and behaviors, live in a wide range of cities and towns. They are not as likely to move,

but if they do Boomers will seek out smaller homes and shorter commutes. This cohort,

as it eases into retirement, would like to be close to parks and apart from neighbors.

Seniors are the most likely to stay in their current homes. These older adults,

who are mainly out of the workforce, are especially likely to want to be in walkable

neighborhoods and close to health services, family and friends, and shopping and

entertainment.



5.6 Important Community Attributes

When asked what attributes they considered important in a community, survey

responses were as follows (percentage of respondents; source: Urban Land Institute):



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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Neighborhood safety:

Quality of public schools:

Space between neighbors:

Walk or short drive to work or school:

Walk or short drive to doctors and hospitals:

Walkability: sidewalks/crosswalks:

Walk or short drive to shopping and entertainment:

Walk or short drive to parks or recreational areas:

Walk or short drive to family or friends:

Convenient public transportation:



92%

79%

72%

71%

71%

70%

66%

64%

63%

52%



5.7 Market Resources

Better Cities & Towns, P.O. Box 6515, Ithaca, NY 14851. (607) 275-3087.

(www.bettercities.net)

General Social Survey, National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago,

1155 E. 60 th Street, Chicago, IL 60637. (773) 256-6288.

(http://www3.norc.org/GSS+Website/)

Pew Research Social & Demographic Trends, 1615 L Street NW, Suite 700,

Washington, DC 20036. (202) 419-4300. (www.pewsocialtrends.org)

The Demand Institute, 845 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10022. (212) 339-0220.

(www.demandinstitute.org)

Urban Land Institute, 1025 Thomas Jefferson Street NW, Suite 500 West,

Washington, DC 20007. (202) 624-7000. (www.uli.org)



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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6

URBAN & RURAL POPULATIONS



6.1 Overview

The U.S. Census Bureau (www.census.gov) identifies two types of urban areas,

as follows:

• Urbanized Areas (UAs) of 50,000 or more people;

• Urban Clusters (UCs) of at least 2,500 and less than 50,000 people.

“Rural” encompasses all population, housing, and territory not included within an

urban area.



6.2 Population Counts

Census 2010 counted the U.S. population as f ollows:

• Urbanized Areas:

219,922,123

• Urban Clusters:

29,331,148

• Rural:

59,492,267

• Total:

308,745,538

There were 486 UAs and 3,087 UCs.

The total population in 2010 and, for comparison, in 2000, was distributed as

follows:









Urbanized Areas:

Urban Clusters:

Rural:



2010



2000



71.2%

9.5%

19.3%



68.3%

10.7%

21.0%



6.3 Suburbs And Exburbs

Suburban areas are outlying single-family housing areas that are surround larger

cities and metropolitan areas. Typically, they don’t have a system of politics; however,

some do have medical services and smaller shopping areas.

The areas on the periphery of metropolitan areas, dubbed “exburbs,” have been

the fastest growing in recent years. While growth subsided in exburbs in the wake of

the Great Recession, recent studies show that population migration to these areas has

resumed.



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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_________________________________________________________________



“During the housing bubble, Americans moved in

droves to the exurbs, to newly paved subdivisions

on what was once rural land. Far-out suburbs had

some of the fastest population growth in the country

in the early 2000s, fueled by cheap housing and easy

mortgages. And these places helped redefine how

we think about metropolitan areas like Washington,

pushing their edges farther and farther from the

traditional downtown. In the wake of the housing

crash, these same places took the biggest hit.

Population growth in the exurbs stalled. They

produced a new American phenomenon: the ghost

subdivision of developments abandoned during the

housing collapse.”

The Washington Post, 3/26/15

_________________________________________________________________



A 2015 study by Brookings Institution (www.brookings.edu) found that for the

first time since 2010 exurban counties were growing faster than inner urban core

counties nationally. These locations, like Waller County in suburban Houston, Barrow

County in suburban Atlanta, and Johnston County in suburban Raleigh, lie on the

peripheries of large urban areas.

Recent suburbs accounted for roughly 43% of all U.S. residences in 2010.

Between July 2013 and July 2014, core urban communities lost a net 363,000 people

overall, according to Brookings, as migration increased to suburban and exurban

counties. The biggest growth was in exurban areas. The reason is that more than 80%

of employment growth from 2007 to 2013 was in the newer suburbs and exurbs.

Between 2012 and 2015, as the economy improved, occupied suburban office space

rose from 75% of the market to 76.7%, according to the real estate consultancy Costar

(www.costar.com).

Potentially, the greatest source of exurban and peripheral revival lies with the

maturation of the Millennial generation. According to demographer Wendell Cox at

Demographia (www.demographia.com), roughly 90% of communities’ population growth

that can be attributed to Millennials since 2000 has taken place outside of the urban

core.

According to a 2015 report by the Census Bureau, 529,000 Americans ages

25-to-29 moved from cities out to the suburbs in 2014, while 426,000 moved in the



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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other direction. Among Millennials ages 24 and younger, 721,000 moved out of the

city, compared with 554,000 who moved in.

_________________________________________________________________



“Exurbia is turning into something very different

from the homogeneous and boring places

portrayed in media accounts. For one thing

exurbs are becoming increasingly ethnically

diverse.”

Forbes, 11/3/15

_________________________________________________________________



In the decade that ended in 2010 the percentag e of suburbanites living in

“traditional” largely white suburbs fell from 51% to 39%. According to a study by the

University of Minnesota School of Law, 44% of residents in the 50 largest U.S.

metropolitan areas now live in racially and ethnically diverse suburbs, defined as

between 20% and 60% non-white.



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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7

WHERE PEOPLE WANT TO LIVE



7.1 Most Desirable States

A December 2015 Harris Poll (www.theharrispoll.com) asked adults the state

they would most like to live in, not including the state where they currently live.

Responses ranked as follows:



Florida



California



Hawaii



Colorado



New York



Texas



North Carolina



Arizona



Oregon



Tennessee



Alaska



South Carolina



Georgia



Washington



Pennsylvania

By gender and generation, the most desirable states to live in are as follows:

Female

1.

Florida

2.

Hawaii

3.

California

4.

Oregon

5.

Colorado

Male

1. (tie)

1. (tie)

3.

4. (tie)

4. (tie)



California

Florida

Hawaii

Colorado

New York



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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Millennials (Ages 18-to-35)

1.

California

2.

Florida

3.

New York

4.

Hawaii

5.

Colorado

Generation X (Ages 35-to-50)

1.

California

2.

Florida

3.

Hawaii

4.

Tennessee

5.

North Carolina

Baby Boomers (Ages 51-to-59)

1.

Florida

2.

Hawaii

3. (tie) Arizona

3. (tie) California

5.

Oregon

Seniors (Ages 70 and Older)

1.

Hawaii

2.

Florida

3.

North Carolina

4.

California

5.

Arizona

When asked the state they would least like to live in, responses ranked as

follows:

1.

California

2.

New York

3.

Alaska

4.

Mississippi

5.

Texas

6.

Alabama

7.

Florida

8.

Illinois

9.

Michigan

10.

District of Columbia

11.

North Dakota

12.

Arizona

13.

Oklahoma

14.

Kansas



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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15. (tie) Arkansas

15. (tie) Missouri



7.2 Most Desirable Cities

The Harris Poll asked adults the city they would most like to live in or near, not

including the city where they currently live. Responses ranked as follows:

1.

New York, NY

2.

San Diego, CA

3.

Denver, CO

4.

Los Angeles, CA

5.

Miami, FL

6.

San Francisco, CA

7.

Honolulu, HI

8.

Atlanta, GA

9.

Seattle, WA

10.

Orlando, FL

11.

Las Vegas, NV

12.

Phoenix, AZ

13.

Maui, HI

14.

Portland, OR

15.

Austin, TX

By gender and generation, the most desirable states to live in are as follows:

Female

1.

New York, NY

2.

San Diego, CA

3.

Denver, CO

4.

Honolulu, HI

5.

Atlanta, GA

Male

1.

2.

3. (tie)

3. (tie)

5.



New York, NY

San Diego, CA

Los Angeles, CA

Miami, FL

San Francisco, CA



Millennials (Ages 18-to-35)

1.

New York, NY

2.

Los Angeles, CA

3.

Denver, CO



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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4.

5.



Miami, FL

San Francisco, CA



Generation X (Ages 35-to-50)

1.

New York, NY

2.

Seattle, WA

3.

Denver, CO

4. (tie) Honolulu, HI

4. (tie) San Diego, CA

Baby Boomers (Ages 51-to-59)

1.

San Diego, CA

2.

New York, NY

3. (tie) Austin, TX

3. (tie) Denver, CO

5.

Honolulu, HI

Seniors (Ages 70 and Older)

1.

San Diego, CA

2.

Honolulu, HI

3.

Phoenix, AZ

4.

New York, NY

5. (tie) Atlanta, GA

5. (tie) Miami, FL



1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

6.

7.

8.

9.

10.

11.

12.

13.

14.

15.



When asked the city they would least like to live in, responses ranked as follows:

New York, NY

Detroit, MI

Los Angeles, CA

Chicago, IL

Dallas, TX

Miami, FL

San Francisco, CA

Houston, TX

Washington, DC

Las Vegas, NV

Anchorage, AK

Phoenix, AZ

St. Louis, MO

Atlanta, GA

Seattle, WA



CONSUMER BEHAVIOR 2017-2018



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