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Some Common Assumptions about Suburban Living are Contradicted

Narrator: This is Science Today. Contrary to what critics have long argued about suburban living, a study of 15 thousand Americans has found that living in the suburbs is better for people's social life than city dwelling. Economist Jan Brueckner of the University of California, Irvine, co-led the study.

Brueckner: Critics of urban sprawl claim that sprawl, namely low-density suburban living reduces social interaction, reduces links between people. Our paper shows that the opposite is true, that interaction is higher in the suburbs, namely when people live in low-densities.

Narrator: Brueckner has some theories as to why this is, including that city dwellers are surrounded by people more and tend to want more privacy. There are also more entertainment options available in urban areas and less reliance on reaching out to others. Whatever is the cause, Brueckner say these findings have an economic value.

Brueckner: A lot of research has shown that labor market outcomes are better for people with a lot of friends, with a lot of social contacts. They get better jobs, better job matches and so on.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.