Family ideals: The diverse meanings of residential space in Chicago during the post-World War II baby boom


This article argues that parents of the post-World War II baby boom chose where to live based primarily on the characteristics of individual neighborhoods, rather than by making sharp distinctions between urban and suburban space. The scholarship on post-World War II domesticity and mass suburbanization usually presumes that these two phenomena went hand in hand as baby-boom parents sought the suburbs' supposedly unique amenities for nuclear family togetherness. This case study of black and white families in Chicago reveals instead that diverse postwar parents described suburban and urban neighborhoods in remarkably similar terms. These families sought out friendly and supportive communities for themselves and their children, opportunities for homeownership, and space for recreation, which they found in a variety of metropolitan Chicago neighborhoods, urban and suburban alike. © 2013 SAGE Publications.

Publication Title

Journal of Urban History