City or Suburb for Your Family | Woombie

Deciding where to settle down with your family is a multi-faceted decision. Job opportunities, cost of living and other factors all play into the final decision. Many families end up choosing between a city or its surrounding suburbs when moving. Research your options carefully to make the best decision for your family. 



Suburbs tend to be quieter and calmer than the cities they surround. Suburban school districts often outperform city schools. The residences tend to be larger and include yards. The amenities vary, but most suburbs have some shopping and entertainment venues as well as primary care doctors.

There are different types of suburbs, based on how far they are from the city. Inner-ring suburbs tend to be denser, while those farther out feel more open. If you are interested in a more rural, small-town feel, consider an exurb. Exurbs are the towns on the farthest edges of a metropolitan area.  

When considering suburban living, be mindful of how often you will drive into the city for work, recreation or other reasons. If you will be doing a lot of driving, switching to a more fuel-efficient vehicle may make suburbia more appealing.  

Suburban areas tend to be safer, but this is not always the case. Compare crime rates before making a decision. Keep in mind that different suburbs within the same metro area often have different crime rates, as do different neighborhoods within a city.  

When researching a particular city’s suburbs, look at the online resources about each location. For example, if you are considering West Valley City, Utah, check out its pages on Wikipedia and before searching for new homes in West Valley. When researching, make a note of the amenities, school ratings and average home prices for different suburbs. Having this information organized and easily accessible helps the decision-making process go more smoothly.  



If you work in the city, living there reduces your commute time. If you live close enough, you may be able to walk or bike most days. Public transportation may be an option, as this mode of transport is more common in urban cores. Although cities tend to be more walkable, they may have lower air quality than surrounding areas. If you or a family member suffers from asthma or other health conditionsa, ask your doctor about how air quality affects your condition and what precautions you may need to take if you live in an area with high levels of air pollution. 

Cities have a larger, more diverse array of restaurants, entertainment venues and shopping centers. There are more museums, theaters and cultural centers. Cities generally have larger hospitals and more specialists. If you or a family member have specialized medical needs, it may be helpful to live close to the doctors you frequent.  

A two-bedroom apartment in the city may cost the same as a four-bedroom detached home in a suburb. Smaller families and those who can spend more on housing are more likely to find comfortable, affordable housing in the city. Those with bigger families living in smaller spaces will need to get creative to make the living arrangements work. If you have kids, outdoor playtime is important. This is more convenient if you have a fenced-in yard in the suburbs. It is possible for kids to play outside in the city, but it usually requires adult supervision at a park. 

Although many urban school districts perform worse than their suburban counterparts, this is not true in every city. Additionally, cities are likely to have a wider variety of private and charter schools. These schools may offer a specialized curriculum, extra enrichment or different teaching methods. 



There are positives and negatives to any living situation. Your goal should be to maximize the positives and minimize the negatives. Suburbs provide the basic necessities within driving distance to big city amenities. Cities offer greater diversity and more specialized resources but may be too dense or expensive for some families.