Young Adults Aren't Fleeing Cities—Quite the Contrary

Joe Cortright presents the antidote to an emerging narrative about the shifting lifestyle preferences of young adults (i.e., Millennials).

January 8, 2018, 9:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Millennials in the Wild

BigLike Images / Shutterstock

There's been no shortage of recent news reporting data showing young people leaving urban areas—news taken by some as a signal that the end of the back to the city movement of the past decade and more is coming to a close.

However, Joe Cortright has data to counter that narrative, taken from the 2016 American Community Survey. He lists some of the key data:

  • "The number of 25-34 year olds with four-year degrees living in large cities is growing almost five times faster than the overall rate of population growth in these cities: a 19 percent increase in 25-34s with a college degree compared to a 4 percent increase in overall population in these cities."
  • "The number of well-educated young adults increased in 51 of the 53 principal cities in the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. (Only Rochester, New York and Tucson recorded declines)."

There's more data listed in the article. From this evidence, Cortright draws a few conclusions, including one about planning priorities to address these trends: "Our ability to accomodate [sic] the demands they are making on the scarce and slowly growing supply of great urban spaces and nearby housing is the real challenge we need to focus upon."

The article also includes this table, which the City Observatory has made available to share.

Planetizen has noticed the emerging narrative about the exit of Millennials from urban areas, sharing articles on the subject on many occasions throughout the year. It's might be worth taking another look at these articles with the data Cortright presents in mind. 

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