Despite costs, millennials gravitate toward large cities

by Megan Donofrio

Millennials are flocking to tech hubs and cultural hot spots in search a good time and promising earning potential. In a recent analysis, the data team at found that millennials are willing to bear the extra expenses of the largest U.S. markets for lifestyle gains.

For its analysis, only measured metros that gained more residents than they lost and controlled for population size by comparing the percentage change of new residents moving in and out.

For millennials — born from 1981 to 1998, according to Pew Research Center — proximity to an energetic nightlife scene with trendy bars and eateries is as important as a growing job market. Enticed by the lifestyle of the nation’s largest and liveliest cities, young adults are packing up and heading to places that offer the highest earning potential, typically along with steep home prices and high cost of living.

“Millennials are saying, ‘We are willing to move for lifestyle and job,’ as opposed to, ‘I need to stay close to home because it’s safer and lower cost,'” more often than previous generations, says Jason Dorsey, chief strategy officer for the Center for Generational Kinetics, a marketing firm in Austin. “If communities position themselves correctly, and have the type of lifestyle [millennials] want, they absolutely can be a top choice for the future.”

While millennials currently make up only about one-third of overall buyers, their percentage will likely continue to grow, making appealing to these future homebuyers a priority for local governments.

To determine the top markets for different generations examined the following:

  • U.S. Census Bureau migration data from 2011 to 2015
  • by page views
  • Percentage change in homeownership from 2016 to 2018, according to Nielsen Holdings

The top 10 markets for millennial buyers include:

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