Many think or assume millennials are moving to the dense urban areas, but
recent data tells a different story.
In fact, as anew Brookings studyshows, millennials are not moving en masse to metros with dense big cities, but away from them. According to demographer Bill Frey, the 2013–2017 American Community Survey shows that New York now suffers the largest net annual outmigration of post-college millennials (ages 25–34) of any metro area—some 38,000 annually—followed by Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Diego. New York’s losses are 75 percent higher than during the previous five-year period.
By contrast, the biggest winner is Houston, a metro area that many planners and urban theorists regard with contempt. The Bayou City gained nearly 15,000 millennials net last year, while other big gainers included Dallas–Fort Worth and Austin, which gained 12,700 and 9,000, respectively. Last year, according to aTexas realtors report,a net 22,000 Californians moved to the Lone Star State.
Perhaps even more significant has been the geographic shift within metro areas. The media frequently has exaggerated millennial growth in the urban cores. Inreality, nearly 80 percent of millennial population growth since 2010 has been in the suburbs.