Millennials—Saviors of St. Louis?
The article does more than just praise the revitalization power of the current crop of young people, there is also a tradition of younger people keeping neighborhoods vibrant in St. Louis, according to Ihnen. “In the 1970s, net migration of 20-24 year-olds in the City of St. Louis was -24.1/100. Those who stayed kept the city from turning out the lights. The revitalization of Soulard and Lafayette Square got started that decade. We may owe the existence of those neighborhoods to those individuals.” What’s more: “Then in the 1990s, people aged 20-29 produced the first positive net migration for any group since the 1950s.”
But there’s something different about Millennials, even if they have at times provided an easy target for media scorn: “…the current iteration of this group is moving into the City of St. Louis and other urban centers in numbers not seen in a century, maybe longer.”
An interesting point emerges from these historic trend: the comings and goings of any particular generation might be less significant than the need to attract a continuous stream of new young people to cities. As stated by Ihnen: “The key for St. Louis is to continue to be a magnet for 20-somethings.”