America’s cities boast famous sights, bright lights and big names – but the US also has rural areas that are the envy of the world. So which offers a better quality of life – city convenience or countryside space? To find more about where we live and why, YouGov asked its nationally-representative panel of respondents about their neck of the woods: what they like and dislike about their area, how conveniently located they are, and where they would most like to live.
- The suburbs are the most popular area we live in (36%) and would like to live (29%)
- Although 25% of us would like to live in a rural area only 15% actually do
- A small city was the least popular (12%) type of place respondents would like to live
- Political gap as 25% of Liberals want to live in a big city but only 4% of Conservatives
- The biggest group of respondents (37%) live within one mile of a grocery store
- Only 2% live more than 15 miles away from their nearest grocery store
Owning a house in one of America’s leafy suburbs comes out top as the most desirable way of life – 39% of Americans would want to live in the suburbs of a city. A rural area was the next most popular type of place to live – 25% say they would most like to live in the countryside, although only 15% of respondents actually live in a rural area.
For younger respondents, the lure of the city is preferable (37%) to living in a rural area (12%). The older you are, the more likely you are to want to live in the countryside – only 17% of over-65s wanted to live in the city, compared with 30% who would prefer a country life. But many people in this age group aren’t living in their dream location, as 40% of over-65s responded that they live in the city and 18% in a rural area, both figures being considerably different from their preferred type of area.
It makes sense that since most of us live in the suburbs, the majority of respondents lived 4 miles or less from their nearest grocery store. But a significant proportion – 17% - live 5 miles or more from their nearest store. Presumably this makes up the 15% of people who live in a rural area – and sacrifice space and country air for nearby conveniences.
To find out what it’s really like living in the city or in a rural area, YouGov asked panelists to describe the best and worst aspects of the type of place they live in – and funnily enough, we found out nowhere is perfect…