What is a bedroom community?
A bedroom community is a residential area in which a large number of people live but do not work. They come home to sleep, but the rest of their lives are spent where they work, socialize, and take part in activities that interest them. Commonly, suburban areas outside of major cities are considered bedroom communities.
Bedroom communities were established after World War II as Americans began moving into the suburbs. By the 1970s, the U.S. had become a “suburban nation,” aided by the fact that many people had an automobile and could choose to live as near or far from their employer as they desired.
Between 1946 and 1964 families grew at a record pace and priorities changed. Families wanted to get away from the air pollution and crime associated with urban areas, and sought well-manicured lawns and good schools for their children. Many were drawn to subdivisions built by a developer, with one house indistinguishable from the next.
Everything comes with a price, however, and that includes living in a bedroom community. While there are benefits, there are also trade-offs. Here are a few:
- Less time to enjoy life. Commuters may spend two hours or more getting from home to work and back in the evening. That leaves less time to spend with family or do the things you enjoy.
- Shopping can be a challenge. Many bedroom communities have only basic shopping areas. If you want to go to a mall or specialty store, it is likely to be in another town.
- The people you left behind. If you once lived in a city near family and/or friends, there is more coordination needed in order to see them on a regular basis.
- Monotony. The “sameness” of many bedroom communities is tough to escape. Subdivisions that look alike, big-box retailers that can be found anywhere in the country, and restaurants that lack diversity are the realities of living outside more populated area.
- Dining and entertainment can be a bust. Like all businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues want to be where the greatest number of customers are. The truth about bedroom communities is that they can be very quiet. It is easy to become tired of having to drive into the city for sporting, theater, or other events.
In the end, you may discover that what works during one phase of your life does not work in the next. The typical person moves 11.4 times during their lifetime. Perhaps two of those moves could involve moving from an urban area to a bedroom community, and then back again.
Example of bedroom community
In spite of the longer commute to work, bedroom communities gained the reputation of being a good place for families to put down roots. That reputation has continued. Among the benefits of living in a bedroom community:
- A small-town feel. Neighbors know one another, socialize, and raise their children together.
- Strong schools. A myriad of factors have led to better test scores than those in urban schools, enhancing the belief that suburban schools are preferable.
- More home for the money. Whereas urban areas run out of places to build homes, bedroom communities can sprawl out, building in previously undeveloped areas. This ability allows families to buy more home for less money.
- Lower crime rate. Statistics have shown that violent crime is less prevalent in suburban communities.