The reasons for growth can be varied, according to Frey and other demographers. Jobs in booming cities can draw new residents to nearby small towns, where quiet streets and good schools can be especially appealing to millennials ready to raise children. In some states, urban gentrification has pushed the poor and immigrants further into outlying towns, where housing is less expensive.The growth may portend a renewed interest in faraway suburbs, which was tamped down during the recession, Frey said.“The more successful parts of the country may be poised to experience a renewed ‘exurbanization’ as the economy picks up,” Frey said, referring to people who choose to live in rural areas while commuting into the city for work. The trend could lead to continued growth of small towns in states like Colorado, Oregon and Utah.
This item takes a surprisingly circa 1990 retro view of exurbanization. The virtualization of knowledge-based organizations and the broader deployment of advanced Internet protocol-based telecommunications infrastructure are factors that didn’t exist much then, making a long commute essential for most exurbanites. That’s not necessarily the case in 2017 and will increasingly be less so in the future.