Living in the suburbs: is it better than living in the city if you have a family? Why would one want to live so far away from everything? Questions like these are going through the minds off millions of people around the world as suburbanization is becoming increasingly popular. But first what is suburbanization? To put it simply, it is the process of citizens migrating from the city to the suburbs (Filion and Bunting, 2015, p. 446).
This has been happening largely since the mid-20th century, aligning with the popularity and easy accessibility of the automobile (Filion and Bunting, 2015, p. 28 – 29). In our modern society, the main factors that draw people away from the city and towards the suburbs is that suburban areas have less crime, are idea for raising a family, and offer a better education than its counterparts in the city. To begin, it is well documented that crime rates in cities are far higher than they are in the suburbs, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports (Cox, 2013).
The racial minority or the ‘black’ population of this time [post World War II] had no access to employment opportunities or jobs and consequently crime rates were quite high, enticing the ‘white’ community to move to the suburbs or what was more commonly referred to as the ‘White Flight’. ” (Essays UK, 2013). This also has to do with urban crime and racialization but that is a topic for another time. Due to the suburbs having less crime they are looked at as being relatively safe areas.
Looking at Fig. 1, there is a path that people both young and old take on a regular basis in Vaughan, Ontario. Looking at the picture you will see a path in the middle of the woods with no lights no illuminate the way. This path is taken late at night when it is pitch black all the time due to it saving around 10 to 15 minutes of walking. Not once has anyone been worried about being attacked or mugged in the path due to the area being regarded as a relatively safe area.
To add, there have been no documented cases of anyone being confronted while in these paths. If this were located in downtown Toronto, people would be scared of using it due to the possibility of people hiding in there with criminal intentions, waiting for unsuspecting victims. Areas that are known for less crime are often considered when looking for a place to start a family. Aside from that, suburbs are built with families in mind.
Unlike the city, which focuses heavily on the night life for those old enough to purchase and consume alcohol; suburbs are very family friendly, with various activities dedicated to children such as sports arenas if you want a little competition or parks if you would prefer to relax and play causally. Parks are very common and you can often find several within a short walk of each other. Figures 2 – 6 show several different parks located in Vaughan, Ontario that were only separated by a very short walk of only 10 minutes, complete with soccer fields (Fig. 5) and baseball diamonds (Fig. 6).
Anyone looking to raise a family will have no trouble finding things to do for their little ones, ensuring they are happy and healthy as they are growing up. Every parent wants what is best for their children, especially when it comes to ensuring that they have the best education available. “Most differences between suburban and urban communities are obviously in favor of suburban schools. They typically have “better qualified” teachers, newer buildings, and “higher educational standards”” (Adkins, 1968, p. 243). While the journal referenced may be from 1968, it does stand true to this day.
Nick Somoski argues the same point as Adkins in 2015, saying “The higher the taxes, the more money there is that can be used towards the local schools your children will be going to. Hence, more money is available for suburban schools than is available for urban schools. And with this money comes numerous benefits. Suburban schools have less crowding and more teachers. While city schools are usually jam-packed with students in each classroom, suburban schools can afford to hire more teachers, meaning classroom sizes are much more proportional.
Smaller classes (with less students in each class) makes for better and easier learning. Not only will the children be more comfortable, but the teachers will be able to have more one-on-one time with each student, allowing for better learning. ” (Somoski, 2015). Figure 7 shows a two-story elementary school in Vaughan, Ontario. This school, much like the others around it, is outfitted with spacious classrooms (Fig. 8), new books, and the latest technology much like Somoski points out. Suburban schools do have a lot more to offer when being compared against schools in urban areas.
Getting back to the question at hand, is living in the suburbs better than living in the city if you have a family or wish to start one? The answer is a subjective one based on what you prefer and the way you wish to live your life. However, looking at the question from an objective standpoint, suburbs are the way to go if you wish to raise a family. Due to the lower crime rate, family centric planning, and better opportunities, living in the suburbs provides and objectively better experience for raising children and starting a family.