Cities vs. Suburbs: Are you from the city or not?

August 15, 2014, 9:36 AM GMT+0

Across most of the country Americans think that suburbanites can claim to be from the big city they live next to, except in the Northeast

In the latest edition of the New Republic, Philadelphia native Hillary Kelly blasted people who claim to be from the city when they're actually from the suburbs. Describing it as embarrassing and indicative of a lack of pride in their real hometowns, she called upon suburbanites to at least admit that they are from the suburbs when someone asks them where they are from. Kelly faced criticism, however, particularly from people who argue that postwar sprawl and commuting made many of the formal boundary lines of cities irrelevant and that someone who is from a suburb of Philadelphia may actually feel like they are from Philadelphia.

YouGov's latest research shows that, on the whole, Americans tend to take a lax approach to where you're allowed to say you're from. 47% of the country say that people from the suburbs of a big city can say that they're from the city, while 34% say that they can't. In the Midwest (52%), South (49%) and West (48%) people tend to be sympathetic to people saying that they're from 'the city'. It is only in the Northeast, however, that people tend to say that suburbanites can't claim to be from the city (45%) rather than can say that they're from the city (35%).

Asked what makes a hometown a 'hometown', Americans tend to say that it is the town where you grew up (39%), not where you were born (28%). Only 20% think that your hometown is merely your current permanent address, while 13% say that there is some other criteria for determining your hometown.

Full poll results can be found here.

Image: PA