Where America lives, and where Americans want to live based on their work, family, and retirement preferences and needs is fundamental to residential development and construction's business model.
Here housing expert and demographer Jed Kolko tracks the trend in urban versus suburban (and rural) living, by looking at the share of U.S. households that live in Census tracts with different densities. His avowedly wonkish post has this punchline:
Americans are getting more suburban, less urban, and less rural. The share of households in urban neighborhoods declined in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s to date. This is true whether we group all urban neighborhoods together (that is, all categories with density of 2,213 or more), or look just at the highest-density urban neighborhoods: the share of households in Census tracts with at least 10,000 households per square mile has declined, slightly but consistently, from 4.0% in 1990 to 3.9% in 2000, 3.8% in 2010, and 3.7% in 2014. Rural neighborhoods have also had a declining share of population, too. But suburban neighborhoods have all gained population share over the entire time period, with the exception of the higher-density suburban neighborhoods (1,500-2,212 households per square mile) in the most recent years (2010-2014).
Now, the question is what happens with the un-penting-up of household formations as young adults emerge from parents' basements and doubled-up living situations? Jury's still out.