In an echo of the postwar baby boom, many U.S. suburbs are again suffering growing pains: not enough schools, too much traffic for two-lane roads, and scenic farmland plowed under for housing tracts,
After several years of surging urban growth, the suburbs now account for 14 of the 15 fastest-growing U.S. cities with populations over 50,000, according to the census, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Baton Rouge didn’t experience the surge in city growth, but its suburbs share some of the traits—especially on the infrastructure front—of larger, faster-growing places elsewhere in the country. Livingston and Ascension parishes have spent a decade-plus as Louisiana’s fastest-growing parishes, despite rising concern over flood control, and Ascension Parish has been forced to add another elementary school.
Across the country, millennials priced out of popular big cities are flocking to places like Frisco, Texas, Nolensville, Tennessee, Lakewood Ranch, Florida, and Scottdale, Georgia—not exactly household names but among the fastest-growing destinations in the U.S.
“The back-to-the-city trend has reversed,” says William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, citing last year’s census data.
What is different from the postwar boom of the 1950s and ‘60s is that growth is far more selective—limited to suburbs blessed by good weather and good jobs, largely in the Sunbelt, where, Frey says, they are growing more than twice as fast as their neighboring cities.
Farther out in the exurbs—loosely defined as outlying counties of large metropolitan areas—single-family construction permits rose 1.6% in the first quarter of 2019, compared with a year earlier. In the most-populated metropolitan areas, single-family construction declined, according to the National Association of Home Builders.
Phoenix last year had a growth rate of 1.5%. The population of Buckeye, Arizona, 30 miles away, expanded by 8.5% last year to 74,000 people.