More Milliennials Choosing Burbs Over Central Cities

Here’s the usual media narrative: Millennials prefer cities to suburbs. They love renting lofts and disdain single-family homes; they ride the subway (or take an Uber) because they barely know how to drive. Where their parents wanted green lawns and cul-de-sacs, today’s young Americans want walkable neighborhoods and local bars with plenty of craft beers on draft.

The numbers tell a different story. Whether by choice or economic circumstance, young Americans are still more likely to leave the city for the suburbs than the other way around.

According to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week, 529,000 Americans ages 25 to 29 moved from cities out to the suburbs in 2014; only 426,000 moved in the other direction. Among younger millennials, those in their early 20s, the trend was even starker: 721,000 moved out of the city, compared with 554,000 who moved in.1 Somewhat more people in both age groups currently live in the suburbs than in the city.

Indeed, for all the talk of the rebirth of American cities, the draw of the suburbs remains powerful. Across all ages, races, incomes and education groups, more Americans are still moving out of cities than in. (Urban populations are still growing, but because of births and immigration, not internal migration.)

Read more from trends article.

Ashtabula County needs to both retain and attract people to live in the county. Our county has seen a slow and steady outward trickle for the past couple decades. And the population remaining is aging; not unlike other places, but it needs to grow. To grow, we need to build new housing that appeals to the existing population – young and old. We need to hold onto our Milliennial base and grow it in the future.

2 thoughts on “More Milliennials Choosing Burbs Over Central Cities

  1. It’s important to note the data beyond the themes, and I agree with the conclusion that good housing is critical, but suburban-style development does not strike me as a viable answer for Ashtabula. My takeaway from this piece is the trend of Millennials branching out more than previous generations, and since it’s likely that most of them came from the suburbs, it’s only natural for most of them to go with what they know. I don’t think, though, that you attract Millennials with suburbs– they choose to live in the suburbs in proximity to where their jobs are. Those who would rather live in an urban environment choose to do so in part because of their job, but also because something about that lifestyle matters to them. These are two different kinds of people– one is driven primarily by the job and the other is influenced by the lifestyle to a stronger degree.

    While I am no fan of exurban development, if there was a market for it this region would have a real decision to make about whether or not it’d like to be a bedroom community for Pittsburgh or Cleveland. Fortunately (in my opinion), we don’t have to make that decision, which allows us to forego the added infrastructure costs and waste involved in developing a sprawling suburban environment. This brings us to infill development in and around existing assets. What we do have is compelling old cities/towns with unique styles and existing infrastructure that would benefit from infill development–provided, of course, that there is a means for the new homeowners to bring home a paycheck.

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    1. Eddy, thanks and I agree with your comments. AshCo is not a suburban location, but it offers things that are distinct (and valuable) from urban locations. I believe in efficient development too. And we must be mindful of the costs we pass on to future generations (yours included). All generations need opportunities, especially yours! For that reason, GP’s new action plan is dedicated to children and young people because the future is theirs! I’m so glad you are engaged in helping AshCo move forward! Thank you.

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