EDITORIAL: The writing on the (shared) wall

Still, some interpret all this investment as a negative.

Back in 2011, The Spotlight ran an online poll with a simple question: Do renters make poor neighbors? The result: 69 percent of respondents in our fairly unscientific survey answered “yes.”

We wonder if that would hold true in 10 years. Today, nationwide home ownership rates are at their lowest levels in 18 years. That’s driven by the economy, to be sure, but also by changing attitudes. An aging population (of which Bethlehem has a considerable number) is moving out of its homes for simpler, smaller housing or nursing care. The younger generation is burdened with debt and on the whole, no longer sees home ownership as the paragon of adulthood.

In the coming weeks, Bethlehem’s leaders should focus on making smart decisions that will lead to the best Bethlehem possible. But everyone should acknowledge that the town might not follow the patterns of the past, and it should be prepared to meet the future head on.

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