The concept of a suburb is generally associated with being away from the center of a larger city and metropolitan area and representing a relatively less developed area. However, this stereotype is slowly falling apart in the United States in the middle of the emergence of the boomburbs and their constant gradual advancement. The concept of a boomburb appeared recently and is considered one of the results of a high level of urbanization and a new metropolitan configuration. Boomburbs are settlements that quickly meet city standards and still have a suburban essence. This paper examines three American boomburbs and argues that the racial and ethnic diversity of these types of settlements has no particular effect on their development and only emphasizes their cultural uniqueness.
Rio Rancho is the third-largest city and the fastest-growing community in New Mexico, belonging to a larger Albuquerque metropolitan area. According to statistics, in 2018, the city’s population was 98,023 people, and the number is growing (“Community overview,” n.d.). Rio Rancho “enjoys a picturesque view of the Sandia Mountains,” extends into northern Bernalillo country, and is often regarded as the fastest-growing settlement, generally in southwestern America (“Community overview,” n.d., para. 1). At the same time, Rio Rancho is still actively considered a suburb of the Albuquerque metro area, the largest city in New Mexico, although it is rapidly approaching the status of a full-fledged city.
Like New Mexico, Rio Rancho is also ethnically and racially diverse. According to the United States Census Bureau (2020c), the three largest groups are non-Hispanic whites, Hispanic whites, and other Hispanic groups, as well. In addition, Rio Rancho also has a large population of Black or African American citizens and slightly fewer Native American and Asian groups (United States Census Bureau, 2020c). Interestingly, while such population diversity is sometimes linked to rising criminal activity, which is a massive problem for New Mexico, Rio Rancho, as mentioned above, is a significant and excellent exception in this regard. Therefore, the racial and ethnic diversity of Rio Rancho is one of the most attractive features of the city.
Rio Rancho was named “one of “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live” citing exceptional public schools and well below national average crime rates” by the Money magazine in September 2018 (“Community overview,” n.d., para. 1). Many factors contributed to Rio Rancho obtaining this reward. Some of them are the excellent organization of parks and recreational areas, a well below the national average crime rate, a good general quality of life, a highly efficient school system, well-planned public transportation, and many more (“Community overview,” n.d.). The diversity of its population plays a positive role in the development of Rio Rancho and in improving everyday life. The very captivating and culturally rich profile of the city is due to this composition of the population. All those mentioned earlier have a substantially good effect not only on the appearance of fascinating local culture but also on creating a very harmonious background amidst the general development of the community.
The next rising boomburb to be discussed is Orange, California, located about 3 miles north of Santa Ana. The population of Orange as of 2019 is approximately 140,000 people (United States Census Bureau, 2020b). Along with the warm and relatively dry pleasant climate throughout the year, Orange has many other characteristics that have made it the subject of discussion in this paper. The ethnic and racial structure of the city in question is similar to that of Rio Rancho. The vast majority of the population (over 60%) is white, and a large proportion of them are of Spanish descent (United States Census Bureau, 2020b). In addition, some African-American, Native American, and Asian groups are also represented in the composition of the population.
Despite the currently existing criminal threat (especially in the background of California), Orange still is a safer settlement compared to 35% of US cities (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2021). The set of such positive features is well reflected in other aspects of city life. For example, it has become a tradition for public schools in Orange to get a few of them on the annual list of America’s top 1000 schools (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2021). Some schools also show above-average scores regularly on standardized tests.
Orange is a vibrant commercial and cultural ever-growing city accompanied by a prolific and seemingly very well-harmonized social life. The city is full of restaurants, shops, cultural centers, various clubs, antique shops, museums, and different entertainment centers. The annual Orange International Fair is an indicator of the unity and belonging of the Orange population to the community. The event, which dates back to 1973, brings together Orange residents and families from surrounding areas, with the proceeds being used entirely to help groups in need in the local community (Encyclopaedia Britannica, 2021). Given the constant progress of such activities, education, and other elements, it becomes clear that the origins of the citizens in the city in question are of no particular or extraordinary significance. Members of the community seem to respect each other and cooperate to improve the standard of living within their community. In light of this, racial or ethnic backgrounds become secondary. Based on the available information and description of the city, it is fair to conclude that racial and ethnic diversity only adds to the life and cultural uniqueness of Orange.
Another city on the road to development is Frisco in Texas, specifically in Colin and Denton counties. With a population growth rate of 6% per year, Frisco now has a population of 200,000, and this number only continues to grow (United States Census Bureau, 2020a). As a result, this Texan boomburb has twice been named America’s fastest-growing and most advanced city since the beginning of the 21st century (“Why Frisco?” 2021). It is also noteworthy that Frisco Local School District is also known throughout the United States for its exceptionally high level of academic performance.
Like the boomburbs discussed so far in the paper, Frisco also represents the white population of non-Hispanic and Hispanic descent, accounting for 75 % of the city’s population (United States Census Bureau, 2020a). Unlike Rio Rancho and Orange, though, Frisco has a representation of a relatively large, 8% African American, 10% Asian, and other racial groups, making its ethnic and racial picture even more enjoyable. Additionally, according to available official data, only a tiny fraction of the Frisco population lives below the poverty line, and a substantial portion of the community owns health insurance (“Why Frisco?” 2021).
Frisco is a very dynamic and culturally rich city despite its relative ethnic homogeneity. Regardless of race, citizenship, and origin, the town’s inhabitants are united by one of the most important things for them, sport, which has become a second religion for the inhabitants of Frisco. The offices of various sports teams are established in Frisco, and the headquarters of the NCAA Division is also located here (“Why Frisco?” 2021). The people of Frisco are universally captivated by such thriving sports as football, hockey, baseball, basketball, soccer, and lacrosse in their hometown.
Frisco is full of shops, restaurants, entertainment centers, and exciting museums, among which the Museum of the American Railroad is the most famous. Youth and sports activities are also often held in town. In the light of such a developmental pace, any significant consequences of the ethnic and racial composition of the Frisco community on the essence of the city other than culturally enriching the latter are unavailable (“Why Frisco?” 2021). The mutual understanding, respect, and sense of belonging to the shared community, which is strengthened by the cultural profile of Frisco and its constituent details, make the boomburb what it is today.
In conclusion, the racial and ethnic composition of the boomburbs gives their already existing unique profiles more authenticity and charm. It contributes to forming the culture and spirit specific to these new creations of the urbanization process. This type of settlement is a very recent phenomenon for America and all other countries and requires more research, exploration, and study. The paper discussed three American boomburbs – Rio Rancho in New Mexico, Orange in California, and Frisco in Texas. All three mentioned cities are on the rise, have a large population, and have an excellent economic development level. They are also characterized by cultural activity and diversity, to which the interesting ethnic and racial composition of the population adds even more goodness. How the boomburbs will develop and what type of settlement they will eventually become is something that the future holds.
Community overview. (n.d.). Rio Rancho. Web.
The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica (2021). Orange. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Web.
United States Census Bureau. (2020a). QuickFacts: Frisco city, Texas. Census. Web.
United States Census Bureau. (2020b). QuickFacts: Orange city, California; Orange County, California. Census. Web.
United States Census Bureau. (2020c). QuickFacts: Rio Rancho city, New Mexico. Census. Web.
Why Frisco? (2021). Frisco. Web.