For nearly a half-century, the death of suburbs and exurbs has been prophesied by pundits, urban real estate interests and their media allies, and they ratcheted up the volume after the housing crash of 2007. The urban periphery was destined to become “the next slums,” Christopher Leinberger wrote in The Atlantic in 2008, while a recent book by Fortune’s Leigh Gallagher, “The End of the Suburbs,” claimed that suburbs and exurbs were on the verge of extinction as people flocked back to dense cities such as New York.
This has become a matter of faith even among many supposed development professionals.
“There’s a pall being cast on the outer edges,” said John McIlwain, a fellow at the Urban Land Institute, in USA Today. “The foreclosures, the vacancies, the uncompleted roads — it’s uncomfortable out there. The glitz is off.”
But an analysis by demographer Wendell Cox of the counties with populations over 100,000 that have gained the most new residents since 2010 tells us something different: Suburbs and exurbs are making a comeback, something that even the density-obsessed New York Times has been forced to admit. Of the 10 fastest-growing large counties all but two — Orleans Parish, home to the recovering city of New Orleans, and the Texas oil town of Midland — are located in the suburban or exurban fringe of major metropolitan areas.
- Video: Death of the suburbs?