In the typical stereotype, suburbs with big homes, large backyards, and “good” schools are the place for families with kids. Meanwhile, urban centers are home to young singles and empty nesters. This sorting of families—by those with or without children—has only accelerated in recent years with the back-to-the-city movement.
The result, according to a growing chorus of urbanists, is a “great inversion” of a long-running pattern of rich suburbs and poor urban areas: Now, as the affluent have gentrified urban centers, the less advantaged are pushed out to increasingly distressed suburbs. Worse, according to some, expensive cities like San Francisco and New York are becoming increasingly childless, because young families can no longer afford to live there.