Where Millennials are Moving To and Leaving From

Apartment List has published research showing the top destination cities for those 19 to 35 years of age based on ten years of census data from 2005-2010. Among the top 10 destinations, only three were on East and West coasts.

2 minute read

November 28, 2016, 5:00 AM PST

By Irvin Dawid

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"Surprisingly, metropolitan areas on the interior saw the biggest increases in millennial population," writes Andrew WooDirector of Data Science at Apartment List. "Among 50 large metropolitan areas, Charlotte, Houston, and Austin saw the most growth."

The three coastal cities to crack the top ten list were:

#4 Seattle
#5 Virginia Beach
#8 San Francisco

Courtesy of Apartment List RENTONOMICS

Woo sees this data as dispelling the notion that "millennials favor walkable cities that provide easy access to amenities and recreation." A better metric is wage growth, found in cities with strong job markets, according to his research.

The one exception is Charlotte, where population boomed even as incomes declined, but recent data suggests that incomes there are growing strongly as well.

Notwithstanding the decline of millennials in Los Angeles (more on that below), "[t]he biggest declines, however, happened in the Midwest and South – Detroit, Miami, and Phoenix, for example," adds Woo.

Millennials, those born between 1981 and 1997, are now "the largest generation in the US, numbering more than 75 million nationwide," writes Woo.

In addition to domestic migration, Woo's research also covered home ownership rates. During the time period, "millennial homeownership rate fell by 7% nationwide (from 39% to 32%), but there is significant variation across metros," he writes.

Los Angeles

In a related article for LA Weekly based on Woo's research, Dennis Romero reports that "Los Angeles is one of the American cities with the greatest declines in millennial residents from 2005 to 2015."  

[Millennials] decreased by 7.4 percent over the last 10 years. The L.A. metro area, with more than 780,000 millennials, is third worst in the nation for millennial population loss, the analysis found.

Romero see's the population loss of this group as a blow to the city's plans to add urban density, expand public transit, and add bicycling facilities which "have largely been aimed at the young."

 But while the county has seen overall population growth, the wave of millennial urban dwellers is weakening.

"The high cost of living combined with stagnant incomes make L.A. a relatively unaffordable place for renters," says Andrew Woo, Apartment List's director of data science. "Fewer millennials are settling in L.A."

Hat tip to Metro Transportation Headlines.

Friday, November 4, 2016 in Apartment List

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