Difference Between City and Suburb

May 24, 2023 By Susan Kelly

The line between living in the city vs suburbs is not always apparent. A city is often thought of as the heart of a metropolitan region, whereas a suburb refers to the territory located outside of city borders. In general, cities have big populations crammed into a very small area, but suburbs may have even higher populations, with tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, or even a million people living there; the difference is that they are dispersed throughout a somewhat broader land area.

Many young people choose to live in cities because city life is more accommodating to renters and, according to some, offers more excitement. However, when they age and desire to purchase a house and raise a family, many individuals inevitably migrate to the suburbs. There is no definitive answer as to where a person should reside, regardless of the phase of life they are now occupying.

What is a suburb?

The term "suburb" does not have a single accepted legal meaning in any jurisdiction. People often opt to reside in suburban regions because of their proximity to the city; as a result, they travel to the city for employment. Some suburbs may be just 15 minutes outside a city, while others can be far away.

Most people perceive suburbs as uniform residential zones that are less crowded than cities but have a higher population density than the countryside. Studies have revealed that in recent years the suburbs have become more varied as people migrate across the nation, and the demographic makeup of suburban dwellers appears quite different than it did a few decades ago. This is because individuals travel to various parts of the country. Living in a suburban region has several benefits, but certain drawbacks should be considered.

Pros of suburban living

Less expensive:

Compared to living in the city, the cost of housing in the suburbs is considerably more reasonable, and you may get a lot more value for your money when it comes time to make a real estate purchase.

More space:

When living in the city, finding an affordable house with a larger yard may be difficult. The suburbs are your best hope for finding a property that satisfies your requirements for several bedrooms, space for a home office, a yard, and a garage.


Living in the suburbs often means breathing cleaner air, having more opportunities to participate in physically active pursuits outside, experiencing less noise pollution and traffic, and dealing with fewer sources of general stress.

What is a city?

Compared with the suburbs, the definition of what makes an urban region or city is more definite, and it is based on the area's population density. The Census Bureau classifies all non-urban regions as rural, although it makes no distinction between rural and suburban areas.

The population density inside their bounds also defines cities and has comparable characteristics. Additionally, they could have governmental authority. (In contrast, a town could not be, but it depends on the county and the state.)

In this piece, rather than concentrating on the legal differences between different types of urban planning, we will examine the aesthetic qualities of cities and city life. People love to wax lyrical about living in a major city; there is good reason for this. However, there are also certain pain points that city dwellers are all too aware of.

Pros of urban living

Diversity in both culture and society:

In many instances, cities' cultural and social diversity is far greater than that of the suburbs, and cities also tend to have higher immigrant populations. Bringing up children in a city may also help expose them to a larger diversity of people and cultures than in a more rural setting.

Public transportation:

Many urban areas include modes of public transit that are both economical and handy. Depending on where you live and how often you drive, public transit might be much more cost-effective than purchasing and maintaining a vehicle. You may go to many locations you need to visit just by walking.

More career opportunities:

There are often many more options for employment in cities than in the suburbs.

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