Skip to content
CityLab
Culture

Urban, Suburban, and Rural: We’re More Alike Than We Think

No matter the nature of the locale—urban, suburban, or rural—differences stem more from who we are than what we want in our communities.
Whether Americans live in urban, suburban, or rural areas, many want the same things for their communities.
Whether Americans live in urban, suburban, or rural areas, many want the same things for their communities.David Goldman/AP

Our images of life in urban, suburban, and rural America are dominated by clichés: urban hipsters living in loft apartments, suburbanites mowing their lawns, rural Americans hunting and fishing.

Now, a fascinating new survey explores many of these long-standing tropes and finds that urbanites, suburbanites, and rural residents are much more alike than different in what we want from our communities. The survey, conducted in January of this year by researchers at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy in conjunction with the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, covers a random sample of more than 1,000 Americans across all 50 states.