Debunking the exurban myth: A comparison of suburban households

Arthur C. Nelson, Thomas W. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


As American cities spill over their traditional boundaries into "exurbia," the debate about whether this new growth is substantively different from what preceded is an important one. We disagree with the idea that the counterurbanization the United States is experiencing represents a dramatic break from previous growth patterns. Using parametric and nonparametric analysis, we examine whether or not the behavioral patterns and demographic characteristics of exurbanites differ from those of suburbanites. Is exurbanization really different from suburbanization and are exurbanites really different from suburbanites? Our research shows that the answer is no. Exurbia should not be defined separately from suburbia. Rather, the development on the metropolitan fringe is simply the latest incarnation of the continued suburbanization of American cities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-709
Number of pages21
JournalHousing Policy Debate
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Demographics
  • Location
  • Suburban

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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