Moving millennials: Where are they going?

Mar 03, 2016
millennialMillennials are moving throughout the country.

Millennials account for a large portion of the U.S. population. In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of millennials in the U.S. has surpassed that of baby boomers. People who are 18 to 34 years old now account for more than a quarter of the populace. In fact, millennials are most likely to move at this age than during other times of life. Young adults in particular see a high migration rate because they usually don't have kids, and they're leaving home or college to start their careers. Recognizing the areas in which millennials prefer living and their reasoning for relocating is beneficial for businesses. This allows them to understand what motivates young adults to move.

Common reasons for a millennial move

Young adults are highly motivated by job opportunities when it comes to relocation. Since many millennials are graduating college, they're looking to start their careers and make a living. To do this, young adults are willing to migrate to new areas. At the same time, those millennials who already have a job are more likely to accept offers for corporate relocation. The great recession delayed many common life transitions for this age group, such as starting a family and buying a home. This means, millennials aren't as tied down as their older counterparts, so it's easier for them to pick up and move.

A young woman talking to a realtor. Millennials without children find it easier to relocate for a job.

Another common reason young adults are moving is for relationships. When a partner receives an opportunity in another city, millennials are willing to follow their significant others to that new location. Many young adults are also interested in moving to be closer to family. They may have originally left for college, but after that's done, they decide to return to an area near their parents.

Young adult destinations

According to the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), millennials are most likely to move to urban areas. They're seeking out these places because of the job opportunities and amenities typically found in large cities. The benefits of these locations include public transportation, social activities and retail stores.

"Washington, D.C., is the top destination for educated young millennials."

Other factors that young adults look for in cities when they're considering a move include cost of living, average salary, unemployment rate and diversity. A 2015 AIER report listed several large cities as popular destinations for educated young people - the top three being Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Boston.

These locations offer promising prospects to young adults, which is apparent in the AIER Employment Index. In Washington, D.C., the average wage and salary earnings for millennials with a bachelor's degree were $63,497. In San Francisco, this number was even higher at $72,622, and, of the three, Boston had the lowest average salary for educated millennials at $58,040. However, these salaries also reflect the cost of living - San Francisco, for instance, is the most expensive city to live out of the three and would naturally have the highest average salary.

All three of the states these cities are located in have an even amount of inbound and outbound moves, according to the Atlas Van Lines 2015 Migration Patterns. This basically means that while people are leaving these states, others are coming in just as quickly to take their places. However, not all destinations are as fortunate. Several states have experienced high levels of outbound moves - the top three being Hawaii, New York and Illinois.

Businesses should keep all of this information in mind when trying to attract millennials to a new location. If a company can demonstrate that a new city has certain amenities a young adult desires, a millennial may be more likely to move to that destination.

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