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Rent Survey: Best Place to Raise Kids – City vs. Suburbs

June 18, 2012 | Rental Trends, Rental Trends and Real Estate News

U.S. Census Bureau data from 2000 and 2010 indicates a distinct shift in the population during the past decade. While the population of urban areas grew by 12.1 percent, the country’s population overall grew by only 9.7 percent during those same years, revealing a trend toward urban living. So, where is the best place to raise kids?

With moving season in full swing, Rent.com surveyed parents on their attitudes about raising kids in the city versus the suburbs to gauge their primary concerns and preferences. According to the survey, city life has its pluses and minuses when deciding where to settle—especially for those with a family in tow!

Keep on Moving

Rent.com survey respondents are certainly loyal to their roots. For parents raising kids in the city, the question commonly arises–should we stay in the city, or should we go? Forty-two percent of Rent.com survey respondents cited they have always lived in the city and are raising their kids there too, and 41.5 percent of respondents are equally dedicated to their suburban ties choosing to remain in the suburbs to raise their families. Though, for those that did make a move when they had children, suburbia takes a marginal victory, as 10 percent of respondents cited a move from the city to the suburbs to raise their kids, while only 6.5 percent cited a move from the suburbs to the city to raise their kids.

Additionally, Rent.com discovered that suburban parents were more satisfied with their choice to raise their kids outside the city, with 46 percent of parents raising their kids in suburbia, citing they would make the same choice again. Comparatively, only 34 percent of city parents felt the same affinity for the urban upbringing of their children. It seems that the suburbs have a slight edge again as 18 percent of parents said they were raising their kids in the city but would prefer to raise them in the suburbs if they had to make the choice again while just two percent of parents who are raising their kids in the suburbs would trade for city life.

Safety First

When it comes to making the move to a big city, Rent.com respondents agree that safety comes first, with 82 percent of parents saying that a safe neighborhood is the most important determining factor when selecting an apartment or home in the city. In fact, over half, 56 percent, of survey respondents revealed that safety is their biggest concern when considering raising kids in the city. Forty-six percent of respondents agree that living in a suburb or smaller town when raising kids offers the advantage of a safer neighborhood when compared to raising them in the city.

Apartment Amenities

While neighborhood safety is undoubtedly the greatest concern for parents when weighing a move to the city, apartment amenities are still a crucial consideration, and below is a list of amenities that respondents signaled would be the most important factor with selecting an apartment or home in the city:

  • Washer and dryer in the apartment unit (6%)
  • Large apartment with room for the kids to play (6%)
  • Building with an elevator to ensure kids, strollers and groceries make it upstairs easily (3%)
  • Doorman or on-site management (2%)

City Living

Rent.com survey respondents did acknowledge there are some real advantages to raising kids in an urban environment. In fact, almost 40 percent of respondents believe that the access to diverse cultures—people, food, art and more—is the biggest advantage to living in a city compared with the suburbs, while 16 percent said that opportunities for a better education made city living more appealing. Additionally, another 12 percent of survey respondents felt that the diversity of a city population is more conducive to raising kids since there is a greater chance to find like-minded friends and a place to fit in. On the contrary, a little under one-third of respondents did answer that the big city life does not offer any advantages over suburban living.

One commonly perceived barrier that stands in the way of pursuing a city-centered life is cost of living; however, only about one in four respondents mentioned cost would be an issue when considering an urban move with the kids. Additionally, respondents weren’t too worried about the size of apartments and homes in the city, with only nine percent of parents citing their biggest concern for city living being that they would not have enough space for their family.

Finding that Perfect Family-Friendly Spot

Parents on the move can visit Rent.com, which makes apartment-hunting as quick and easy as possible. In addition to helping families  find the perfect rental, Rent.com provides moving resourcesrelocation tips and a $100 Reward Card Program. If you’re considering making a move to raise your family, look out for our next post on ten great cities for raising kids.

Survey Methodology 

The survey was conducted among 1,000 parents in the U.S. The interviews were conducted online by RedShift Research in April 2012 using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total populations aged 18 and older. The margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level is, plus or minus, 4.38 percentage points.

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