US Urban, Rural, and Suburban Lifestyles Market Report 2021
[{"name":"Consumer Lifestyles","url":"https:\/\/store.mintel.com\/industries\/consumers-trends\/consumer-lifestyles"}]
"Urban, suburban and rural consumers already had different desires and challenges heading into the pandemic; COVID-19 has upended life in many ways for each group. As the country enters deeper…

US Urban, Rural, and Suburban Lifestyles Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)

Report Summary

This report provides comprehensive and current information and analysis of the US Urban, Rural, and Suburban markets including market size,  relevant market segmentation, and industry trends for urban lifestyle, rural consumers lifestyle, and suburban lifestyles markets in the US.

Current market landscape

Misconceptions about where Americans live abound.

  • Cities aren’t dying – 38% of people that moved from their area in the past three years relocated to an urban area.
  • Suburbs aren’t for families just starting out – only 37% of suburban adults are Millennials or Gen Z, and 20% make less than $50K annually; these shares are lower than in urban and rural areas.
  • Rural America isn’t the Whitest part of the country – 61% of rural residents are White, but so are 66% of suburbanites.

Brands are trying to understand how consumer behaviors and attitudes differ and are impacted by their living area during a dynamic time. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to motivate people to move, and when they do, they bring new perspectives and ideas to these areas. One of the biggest sources of disruption is remote work, which has catalyzed a lot of relocation, and has the potential to make communities more inwardly focused as the need for commuting is reduced. At the same time, the Delta variant and the pandemic’s economic ramifications have underscored how some areas, particularly rural areas, are struggling. Already strained healthcare facilities are at their breaking point in rural areas, and the sparse nature of those areas exacerbates factors like high gas prices.

Future market trends in US urban, rural, and suburban lifestyles

Increased connectivity can be a lifeline to rural areas. Not only would improved broadband aid in telehealth services and using ecommerce to satisfy the needs of rural consumers, but such infrastructure can increase in-migration to these areas and kickstart their economic development, making these areas better suited for meeting their residents’ needs.

Read on to discover more about the US Urban, Rural and Suburban Lifestyles consumer market, read our American Lifestyles Market Report 2020, or take a look at our other General Lifestyles Market research reports.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on the lives and decisions of urban, suburban and rural consumers.
  • Demographics of these areas, and what new residents can tell us about the future of these places.
  • How consumers of each area perceive themselves and the residents of different areas, so brands can more relatably market to them.
  • The desires and shopping habits of consumers in each area, as they relate to what kinds of brands each would like to see and how they would like to interact with the brands and their employees.

Covered in this report

Brands include: Walmart, Wayfair, SimpliSafe, AARP, Google, Transit Tees.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Mike Gallinari, a leading analyst in the Travel and Leisure sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Urban, suburban and rural consumers already had different desires and challenges heading into the pandemic; COVID-19 has upended life in many ways for each group. As the country enters deeper into the vaccine phase of the pandemic, brands should be paying attention not only to how COVID-19 has left its mark on the lifestyles of each, but also how the (sometimes surprising) shifts in demographics of each area will affect how these consumers eat, shop and play.

Mike Gallinari, Travel and Leisure Analyst
Mike Gallinari
Travel and Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
            • Economic and other assumptions
              • COVID-19: US context
              • Executive Summary

                  • Top takeaways
                    • Makeup of living areas
                      • Figure 1: Self-identified living area description, 2017
                      • Figure 2: New resident demographics, 2021
                    • Impact of COVID-19 on urban, suburban and rural lifestyles
                      • Figure 3: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on urban, suburban and rural lifestyles, 2021
                    • Challenges
                      • New urban consumers have an independent streak
                        • Figure 4: Attitudes toward shopping, by new area, 2021
                      • Suburbanites struggle to see what makes them special
                        • Figure 5: Attitudes toward where they live, by area, 2021
                      • Rural denizens aren’t having their needs met
                        • Figure 6: Opinions of area among potential movers, by area, 2021
                      • Opportunities
                        • City dwellers are looking to be entertained
                          • Figure 7: Attitudes toward entertainment, by new area, 2021
                        • Efficiency rules the suburbs
                          • Figure 8: Desired in-store experience, by area, 2021
                        • Diners in rural areas want to feed off of brands
                          • Figure 9: Desire for variety in food shopping outlets, by area, 2021
                      • Urban, Rural and Suburban Residents – Key Takeaways

                        • Most of America is suburban
                          • The pandemic has affected everyone
                            • Suburbs and rural areas have had some dynamic changes
                              • Health, economics point to struggles ahead for rural consumers
                                • Urban and rural budgets are structured differently
                                • Overview of Residents by Area

                                  • Most Americans describe themselves as suburbanites
                                    • Figure 10: Self-identified living area description, 2017
                                  • Urban, suburban and rural demographics
                                    • Figure 11: Area demographics, by area and indexed to all, 2021
                                  • Impact of COVID-19
                                  • Overview of New Residents

                                    • One third of residents arrived within the past three years
                                      • Figure 12: Area change in the past three years, 2021
                                    • New resident demographics
                                      • Figure 13: New resident demographics, 2021
                                  • Market Factors

                                    • The give and take of federal aid
                                      • Waning confidence can discourage spending
                                        • Figure 14: Consumer Sentiment Index, 2007-21
                                        • Figure 15: Personal financial situation, by area, 2021
                                      • High gas prices will strain budgets in the fall
                                        • Figure 16: US gasoline and diesel retail prices, 2007-21
                                      • Vaccine refusal will set rural areas even further back
                                        • Figure 17: Vaccination status, by area, 2021
                                      • Increasing diversity means businesses need to evolve
                                        • Figure 18: Percent of rural (nonmentro) and urban (metro) populations by race/ethnicity, 2018
                                    • Urban and Rural Spending

                                      • Urban and rural budgets are starkly different
                                        • Figure 19: Average consumer income, housing rates and expenditures, urban vs rural, 2020
                                    • Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

                                      • Companies have to address physical and emotional needs
                                        • Suburbanites are hard for brands to pin down
                                          • All areas are poised for a change
                                          • Messaging Themes

                                            • Walmart addresses rural needs
                                              • Figure 20: Walmart direct mailer, 2020
                                            • Brands have difficulty defining the suburbs
                                              • Figure 21: Wayfair direct mailer, 2021
                                              • Figure 22: SimpliSafe direct mailer, 2021
                                            • Google works the reopening angle
                                              • Figure 23: Google “Get back what you love” ad, 2021
                                          • The Future of Where We Live

                                              • Trend Driver: Surroundings
                                                • Cities
                                                  • Suburbs
                                                    • Rural areas
                                                      • Trend Driver: Technology
                                                        • Cities
                                                          • Suburbs
                                                            • Rural areas
                                                              • Trend Driver: Wellbeing
                                                                • Cities
                                                                  • Suburbs
                                                                    • Rural areas
                                                                    • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                      • Opinions about local surroundings are middling
                                                                        • Assumptions about each population don’t hit the mark
                                                                          • Food demands very among areas
                                                                            • Distance determines a lot of shopping habits
                                                                              • Everyone agrees on shipping
                                                                                • Streaming is a strong competitor to out-of-home leisure
                                                                                • Area Satisfaction

                                                                                  • Americans are… okay with where they live
                                                                                    • Figure 24: Opinions of living area, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Rural people want to move out of need, suburbanites out of desire
                                                                                    • Figure 25: Opinions of area among people without plans to stay, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Brands can help with adjusting to cities
                                                                                    • Figure 26: Perceptions of a new area, by area, 2021
                                                                                • Perceptions of Denizens

                                                                                  • Urban dwellers are perceived as outliers
                                                                                    • Figure 27: Correspondence Analysis – Symmetrical map – Opinions of residents, 2021
                                                                                  • All area residents misperceive the others
                                                                                    • Figure 28: Perceptions of consumers by area, 2021
                                                                                  • People are generally welcoming of newcomers
                                                                                    • Figure 29: Perceptions of areas, by new arrivals, 2021
                                                                                  • Urban and rural citizens see a lot to be proud of
                                                                                    • Figure 30: Attitudes toward where they live, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Newcomers are excited about their area
                                                                                    • Figure 31: Attitudes toward where they live, by new area, 2021
                                                                                • Foodservice and Groceries

                                                                                  • Suburbs are ready for independent restaurants
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Desire for variety in food shopping outlets, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Chains have opportunities with consumers on the move
                                                                                    • Figure 33: Desire for variety in food shopping outlets, by new area, 2021
                                                                                  • Grocery stores need more presence in rural areas, less physicality in urban
                                                                                    • Figure 34: Attitudes toward groceries, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Grocery shopping is increasingly delivery-focused
                                                                                    • Figure 35: Attitudes toward groceries, by new area, 2021
                                                                                • Retail and Shopping Habits

                                                                                  • Mass merchandisers have opportunity in rural areas
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Desire for variety in retail outlets, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Distance determines many shopping priorities
                                                                                    • Figure 37: Desired store features, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • All attitudes point to importance of online shopping
                                                                                    • Figure 38: Desired stock features, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Personnel are most appreciated by urban shoppers
                                                                                    • Figure 39: Desired in-store experience, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Location, location, location holds true outside of cities
                                                                                    • Figure 40: Desired physical store features, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • New residents quickly fit into local habits
                                                                                    • Figure 41: Desired store features, by new area, 2021
                                                                                  • Shopping is social for those new to the city
                                                                                    • Figure 42: Attitudes toward shopping, by new area, 2021
                                                                                • Online Shopping Habits

                                                                                  • The pandemic has put a focus on shipping
                                                                                    • Figure 43: Desired online shopping features, 2021
                                                                                  • Shipping is king in the COVID-19 era
                                                                                    • Figure 44: Desired online shopping features, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Brick and mortar stores have opportunity with new urbanites
                                                                                    • Figure 45: Desired online shopping features, by new area, 2021
                                                                                • Attitudes toward Entertainment

                                                                                  • Out-of-home leisure is most vibrant in cities
                                                                                    • Figure 46: Desire for variety in entertainment outlets, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Streaming is a strong competitor to leisure and community
                                                                                    • Figure 47: Attitudes toward entertainment, by area, 2021
                                                                                  • Newcomers are excited to go out for leisure
                                                                                    • Figure 48: Attitudes toward entertainment, by new area, 2021
                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                    • Consumer survey data
                                                                                      • Marketing creative
                                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                          • Abbreviations
                                                                                          • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                            • Definitions
                                                                                                • Figure 49: Standard living area, by detailed living area description, 2021
                                                                                              • Methodology

                                                                                              About the report

                                                                                              This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


                                                                                              Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


                                                                                              Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


                                                                                              Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


                                                                                              Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

                                                                                              *databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

                                                                                              Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

                                                                                              Click to show report
                                                                                              2024 Sample Consumer Cover

                                                                                              Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

                                                                                              Trusted by companies. Big and small.

                                                                                              Want to speak to us directly?

                                                                                              Contact us with your enquiry and our expert global team can help.

                                                                                              Get in touch