Drop the Ballyhoo: Where Do Educated Millennials Actually Live?

A common narrative about Millennials: their preference for urban environments like San Francisco and New York City. To what degree is the stereotype real?

1 minute read

May 24, 2019, 6:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bob Duran / Flickr

You've probably heard that educated Millennials moved into cities and ruined them for everyone else. Whether or not the last bit of that statement is true, educated Millennials do tend to live in large cities at a higher rate that the balance of the population.

"Nationwide, 25-to-34-year-old college graduates make up 6.4% of the population. In the 100 biggest cities, their (unweighted) average share is 9.3%," according to an article by Justin Fox that crunches data from the American Community Survey to reveal the real urban preferences of educated Millennials.

The article includes a list of the top cities and city-like entities for educated Millennials, calculated as college graduates ages 25-34 as a percentage of total population in 2017, and finds perhaps a few surprises. Leading the group is Arlington, Virginia, followed by Washington, D.C., and then San Francisco. Seattle and Boston round out the top five, though Fox notes that if Manhattan were on the list, it would have come in fifth on the list all by itself.

A list of the same population, on a rolling average between 2013 and 2017 produces even more surprises, listed in order: Hoboken, New Jersey; Somerville, Massachusetts; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Arlington, Virginia; and West Hollywood, California.

The article includes more ways to break down the data, and infographics to illustrate each of the lists.

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