Despite its amber waves of grain reputation, America is a metropolitan nation. Some 80% of residents live in urban areas. That goes more so for families: according to data from the 2019 American Community Survey, Americans who reported having at least one child at home were about 2 percentage points more likely to live in a metropolitan area (although 4 percentage points less likely to live in the urban core).
What urban parents are thinking, then, tells us a great deal about what parents in general are thinking. That’s part of why my colleagues at the Manhattan Institute recently conducted a poll of the 20 fastest-growing metro areas—to gather a sense of the concerns, thoughts, and priorities of America’s urban residents. That included detailed information on respondents’ parental status, including information broken out by race and income, providing valuable insight into the American parent.
The most pressing issues for parents in our surveys were, unsurprisingly, dinner table fare. Asked about the two most important factors in determining where they lived, parents were notably more likely than non-parents to list access to good schools (19% versus 5%) and good jobs (20% versus 15%). White parents were disproportionately looking for access to parks and recreation, while black and Hispanic parents were notably worried about crime.
Charles Fain Lehman is a fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.
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