The evolution of suburbia

The Mrs. America contest
The Mrs. America contest was promoted as a search for the "best looking and best homemaker among America's married women." In 1958, Mrs. Alvin J. Bach of Columbia Heights won the Mrs. Minnesota title.
Courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society Collections file

Minnesota’s suburbs are changing, much like suburbs across the nation. Once a hub for upper- and middle-income white families, suburban subdivisions have undergone significant demographic shifts and are attracting residents of color and immigrants. 

In 1970, 93 percent of white Americans lived in suburbs. By 2010, that percentage had dropped to 68 percent, according to a 2017 study. Some areas have seen more drastic shifts, transitioning from a predominantly white population to a majority-minority status

As suburbs have become more diverse, some have also inherited a number of problems historically attributed to urban areas: segregation, discrimination, and economic inequality. 

How does this happen, and how can it be addressed?

Tuesday, MPR News host Kerri Miller was joined by two sociologists to discuss what factors lead to uneven development and inequality and what community residents can do to respond.


  • Alex Murphy is an assistant professor of sociology and a faculty affiliate of the Population Studies Center at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

  • R. L’Heureux Lewis-McCoy is an associate professor of sociology of education at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Kerri Miller podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.

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