The Changing Face Of American Suburbs

Consider this fine graphic courtesy of

Decline of the Suburbs

My view:

As I reviewed in an earlier blog post Recession In Waiting, high oil prices (over $90 per barrel) often precede recessions in the United States and the balance of the developed world.

Recessions are characterized by downturns in economic activity and job losses.  These factors compound the existing trend away from suburban areas.

As the tax base of the suburbs declines, services offered by municipalities must also follow suit or the  problem of financing today's services with tomorrow's tax dollars balloons the debt until it becomes irredeemable.

At that point the city or town achieves the dubious distinction of bankruptcy.

The number of cities that are in this trend are growing.  San Bernardino comes to mind, as does Syracuse, NY.

What will become of the abandoned suburbs over time?

Perhaps some of the trends in Detroit give us a clue.

We could see more urban farmland.

Photo courtesy of


  1. Good post PW. Also take into account the cost of living in a Suburban setting. Higher RE taxes, Higher Water and Sewer rates, Higher property insurance rates, longer travel time, up keep costs...All that so called privacy comes with a price.

    Be well


  2. Yes, very good points Bill. Suburban living has a higher cost to it than being in an urban core. My preference is rural living, but that too has a certain cost. What is interesting is the increasingly apparent lack of sustainability of the suburbs with their high infrastructure and transportation costs.


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