How diverse are US suburbs?

Matthew Hall, Barrett Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


American suburbs are popularly perceived as demographically homogeneous compared with central cities. Social scientists have long challenged this perception; indeed, some cite recent evidence on suburban diversity to assert that the suburb-city distinction has become irrelevant. Here, several conceptual, methodological and theoretical improvements are introduced to improve the adjudication of claims about the extent and nature of suburban diversity. The analysis examines patterns and potential antecedents of population composition at both the suburban ring and place levels for 65 large US metropolitan areas. It is shown that rings and their constituent places are much more diverse than traditionally imagined. However, important differences still exist between suburbs and central cities on specific dimensions. It is also found that suburban diversity varies with metropolitan population size and suburban size, density, dominance and distance from the central city.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-28
Number of pages26
JournalUrban Studies
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies


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