Suburban Flight No More?

Out of the nation’s 51 largest metropolitan areas, more than half — 27, to be exact — are growing faster than their suburbs for the first time in decades, according to new census data released this week.

According to the Wall Street Journal:

Viewed as a whole, U.S. suburbs have grown faster than city centers in every decade since the 1920s, when rising automobile ownership inspired Americans to begin fleeing cramped city quarters for leafy suburbs, said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution. Urban population growth accelerated markedly at the end of the last decade, he added.

New Orleans actually saw the greatest percent increase in population growth between 2010 and 2011 — 4.9 percent — which could be partly explained by expats moving back to the city post-Katrina flight.

Boston’s city center grew 1.1 percent year-over-year, while our suburbs grew 0.6 percent.

Could biotech and health care jobs be pulling people (back) in? Or, is it the Greenway, increasing bike lanes, farmers’ markets and cultural events like SoWa, and other quality-0f-life improvements that are attracting the masses? Many of my 20-something and 30-something friends are eschewing the suburbs completely, and opting to put down roots and have kids in New York, Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco.

And why shouldn’t people keep streaming into our town — especially if initiatives like the Future Boston Alliance get traction and help shape Boston into a 24-hour city and a startup hub?