During the early days of the pandemic, people with the means to move and the ability to work remotely left cities and moved to suburbs, small towns, rural areas and remote communities.

Even with the narrative of residents fleeing cities playing out, the rise in home prices in urban areas continued unabated. And now rents in cities are increasing, too.

To make sense of where people want to live, the Pew Research Center recently surveyed more than 10,000 Americans. The result shows that the preference for walkability is fading and more people would prefer to live in a larger house where the homes are further apart and residents need to drive to amenities and schools.

According to the report, “Today, six-in-ten U.S. adults say they would prefer to live in a community with larger homes with greater distances to retail stores and schools (up 7 percentage points since 2019), while 39% say they prefer a community with smaller houses that are closer together with schools, stores and restaurants within walking distance (down 8 points since 2019).”

Suburban preferences across all groups

While Americans remain deeply divided over many issues, the Pew survey found that the preference for larger homes that are spread further apart cuts across most partisan, age, racial and ethnic groups and educational levels. In the past, Republicans were traditionally more apart than Democrats to prefer suburban locations compared to urban areas.

Pew’s research found that both groups have an increased preference for suburbs or rural areas. Republicans continue to have more of a preference for a larger home farther from amenities, at 73 percent, compared to 65 percent when Pew conducted a similar survey in September 2019, while Democrats are split more evenly. However, more Democrats (49 percent) now prefer a suburban or rural location, up from 42 percent in 2019.

Most racial groups also expressed a preference for larger homes farther from amenities, including Whites (63 percent), Blacks (60 percent) and Hispanics (56 percent). Asians were the only group with a majority (58 percent) expressing a preference for a small home closer to amenities.

For the full report, click here.

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