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City or suburb – where’s the best place to raise a family?

Posted by Scott Van Voorhis June 13, 2012 06:49 AM

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The old idea that suburbia is somehow an inherently better place for children is losing some of its power, but it's still with us.

The decision to start a family often prompts a search for larger or more child-friendly surroundings, but families in a recent poll were far more likely to choose the suburbs than the city.

One of the more provocative findings: 18 percent of city parents polled would raise their children in the suburbs if they had to do it over again.

Here's an excerpt from the press release.

Additionally, 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.

Still, even as more parents on the move opt for the suburbs and than the city, they are at least paying lip service to some of the perceived attributes of urban living. 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.

But even as they extol the virtues of city living, a large percentage of parents polled still believe the suburbs to be inherently safer. (Fifty-six percent said safety was their biggest concern with city living while 46 percent say suburban or small-town living is safer for children.) Now the chances of your child getting abducted are akin to lightning striking, but it seems to me that most of the cases I have ever read about happened in suburbs or small towns. Or at least those were the cases that generated the most media coverage.

So how accurate is this survey?

Here's a description of the methodology - at the least it's a step above sheer nonsense.

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.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
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About boston real estate now
Scott Van Voorhis is a freelance writer who specializes in real estate and business issues.

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