City vs. Rural Homes

In my post yesterday I talked a bit about the fact that Americans have the largest homes of any country in the world. But I have also written about the fact that living in cities can be extremely cramped and expensive. So today I decided to talk about the differences between living in the city and in rural areas in terms of space.

Ultimately, homes are much larger in the suburbs and in rural areas compared to cities. For example, in Boston, prices can run upwards of $1,500 per month per bedroom for an apartment or condo. In the far reaches of the Greater Boston suburbs, $1,500 per month can buy a four bedroom house and leave you with money to spare.

This difference in home sizes used to play into the idea that people in the suburbs were wealthy while those in the cities were poor. For a long time, this general idea held largely true. More recently, poverty rates have increased in suburbs while cities have seen increased gentrification. Now a family of four may live in a nice four bedroom suburban home but may be in a worse financial situation than a similar family cramped into a two bedroom apartment in a city. 

It seems that perception of wealth may be changing and therefore so are the material items that people value. For the better part of American history, having an impressive house was among the most important status symbols. But now as many people are electing to have smaller, more humble homes to live closer to cities, it appears that other factors, such as eco-friendliness or perhaps access to public transportation, are redefining American status.