WASHINGTON, D.C. — Given six choices of a type of place where they could live, 27% of Americans choose a rural area, more than any other option — although this is down from 35% in 2001. Another 21% currently favor life in a suburb of a big city, while 12% would choose a big city itself. The remaining 39% would choose a town, a small city or a suburb of a small city.

These results are from Gallup interviewing conducted Nov. 13-18, updating a question initially asked in October 2001. Respondents are offered six choices of where they would live if they could live anywhere they wished, including a big city, a suburb of a big city, a small city, a suburb of a small city, a town and a rural area.

The broad pattern of responses is similar to 17 years ago. A rural area is the dominant choice in both periods, although down somewhat from 2001. Slightly more Americans now choose a big city or a small city. The higher interest in living in a rural area in the 2001 poll could have reflected a lingering reaction to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that hit New York City and Washington, D.C.

Both times the question has been asked, Americans have preferred living in big-city suburbs over a big city per se, while, conversely, a small city is more appealing than a small-city suburb.

rural areas to live

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