A “bedroom community”, also known as a “commuter town”, is a small town or exurb that is mostly used as a residential area by homebuyers and homeowners who work in a bigger city nearby (Aalto Insights Team, 2023). Due to the large number of residents who commute daily to nearby metropolitan areas for work, these communities typically have walkable downtowns or main streets ideal for entertainment and nightlife, giving residents a more relaxed lifestyle.

What Is A Bedroom Community?  - Sheet1
Bedroom Community _©House Beautiful

History of Bedroom Communities

What Is A Bedroom Community?  - Sheet2
A Vintage Photo of Levittown, a Bedroom Community in the United States _©Historical Getty

As Americans moved to the suburbs after World War II, establishing bedroom communities. Families expanded at an unprecedented rate, with priorities changing between 1946 and 1964. At the time, people wanted to escape the pollution in the air and the crimes common in cities. They also wanted clean lawns and good schools for their kids. By the 1970s, the United States had become a “suburban nation,” helped by the fact that many people drove and could live as close or far from their workplace as they wanted (Taylor, 2022).

Characteristics of a Bedroom Community

What Is A Bedroom Community?  - Sheet3
An Example of Single-Family Homes _©Glasshouse Images

The high concentration of single-family residences is one of a bedroom community’s most important real estate characteristics. Additionally, they typically have more outdoor space and are larger than their urban counterparts. They are likewise frequently situated on calm, tree-lined roads. Moreover, a bedroom community’s location is another important characteristic; typically, it is close enough to drive to larger urban areas or city centres but needs to be closer to take public transportation. In addition to being accessible by car from a larger city, bedroom communities frequently possess excellent schools and other options for entertainment that are uncommon in more densely populated urban areas. There are various entertainment options, but the majority include easy access to numerous shopping and dining options and large parks, recreational areas, or outdoor spaces.

An example of a bedroom community would be one in the San Francisco Bay Area, Daly City and Foster City. Another example would be Englewood, New Jersey, on the East Coast as it is within driving distance of the New York metropolis, the nearest big metropolis (Aalto Insights Team, 2023).

The Emerge of a Bedroom Community

What Is A Bedroom Community?  - Sheet4
Commute Map of New York Residents _©BigBytes

Bedroom communities happen because of various reasons. First, bedroom communities frequently develop due to employees’ need to relocate to a town with a cheaper living cost because they cannot afford to live close to where they work. Second, a smaller town eventually attracts more people; since the businesses there do not employ residents, they may commute to other employment areas, allowing bedroom communities to emerge due to shifting economic conditions in some situations. Thirdly, a major factor in the development of bedroom communities is the rapid expansion of once-small cities, where many cities get absorbed into the suburbs of larger cities because a new transportation network is being built. Last but not least, commuter towns develop when workers in a given area are unable to afford to live where they work and are forced to relocate to a lower-cost city (Wanjohi, 2017).

Case Studies of Bedroom Communities

What Is A Bedroom Community?  - Sheet5
Living in Beaumont, California _©NYTimes

For example, housing costs in Californian metropolises reached record highs in the late 20th century due to the dot-com boom and the US housing bubble, which also led to exurban expansion in neighbouring counties. At that time, the San Francisco Bay Area employed more than 80% of Tracy, California’s workers. Until the steel industry collapsed in the 1980s, Steubenville, Ohio and nearby Weirton, West Virginia, had their own regional identities. Steubenville Pike and the Parkway West significantly improved access to Pittsburgh, a considerably bigger metropolis. 

What Is A Bedroom Community?  - Sheet6
Japan’s Train Commuters in Rush Hour _©The Japan Times

Conversely, by the 1980s, most of Japan’s national railway network had been privatised. Nonetheless, unlike in the United Kingdom, the privatisation deals encompassed the national railway’s rails, trains, stops, and real estate. Privately owned railroads in Japan see commuter town growth and real estate investment as essential to their economic strategy. These railways regularly build new residential and commercial districts alongside their existing and new routes, stations, and train schedules to provide current and potential commuters with convenient work-commute routines. This starkly contrasts North American commuter communities, which are nearly entirely the product of automobile mobility.

The Benefits of a Bedroom Community

Bedroom Communities providing child-friendly spaces to Live in _©Hastings

The benefits of bedroom communities outweigh the drawbacks for many professional workers:

  1. Affordability: Lodging expenses and charges on property, food, and deals will often be lower.
  2. Reduced noise: There is now relative peace in place of the noise from automobile traffic, emergency vehicles, and construction projects.
  3. Greater privacy: Because homes tend to be spread out more, crowding is not a problem because neighbours won’t be able to see inside.
  4. Lower levels of crime: Everywhere, crime occurs. However, a smaller population means fewer inmates in bedroom communities (Campbell, 2018).

Better schools, larger homes, and a more affordable lifestyle are the primary benefits of living in a bedroom community. Compared to living in a larger city, these communities can also be an excellent option for people looking for a place more conducive to families. Because they are not as populated as a city, they are considered more peaceful and quiet.


  1. Aalto Insights Team (2023) Bedroom community: What is it and how is it different than the suburbs?: Learn at aalto, Aalto. Aalto. Available at: https://aalto.com/learn/what-is-a-bedroom-community (Accessed: April 18, 2023).
  2. Campbell, N.G. (2018) What is a Bedroom Community? All About Those In-Demand Locales Just Outside Cities, mySA. mySA. Available at: https://www.mysanantonio.com/realestate/article/What-Is-a-Bedroom-Community-All-About-Those-12907589.php (Accessed: April 18, 2023).
  3. Taylor, M. (2022) What is a Bedroom Community?, Bankrate. Bankrate. Available at: https://www.bankrate.com/real-estate/what-is-a-bedroom-community/#history (Accessed: April 18, 2023).
  4. Wanjohi, W. (2017) What is a Bedroom Community?, WorldAtlas. WorldAtlas. Available at: https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/what-is-a-bedroom-community.html (Accessed: April 18, 2023). 

Audrey Kianjaya is a graduate architect and urban planner who is currently pursuing a career as an architectural researcher and writer. She aspires to make a positive impact through her writing and design, earning her project the title of “People’s Choice” from the Regen Dining Competition held in 2020.