“A new peer-reviewed study …. finds that not only have young people been a driving force in the urban resurgence of the past two decades, but they favor living in central urban neighborhoods significantly more than previous generations did at the same stages in life.” writes Richard Florida for CityLab.
The question is posed in a study called “Urban revival by Millennials?” which investigates the net migration patterns of young adults from 1980–2010.
Using census data, the authors analyzed the movement of four cohorts of different ages in 20 top urbanized areas in the United States. They considered factors such as density, access to transit, proximity to the city center and consumption amenities. And they added control variables including income, education, occupation, race and ethnicity and housing stock.
People populate urban centers for many different reasons and these reasons will vary from generation to generation. Late baby boomers, born in the 1980s, preferred the suburbs, just like the generations before them. The 1990s saw early gen xers become more urbanized. It was only in the 2000s that amenities such as retail, entertainment, recreation and food-related services became an important factor in location choices for young adults. For the slightly older cohorts, those aged 25 – 44, transit has become the most important factor, most likely because many commute to work and the cost of owning a car is substantial.
According to the study, each new generation has become more urbanized than the last, showing that young adults are definitely leading the urban revival. This urbanization has happened at varying paces (faster in the largest cities) and faster in cities where amenities are concentrated in their city centers.
The one thing that’s certain is that where young adults choose to live is causing a reset in the urban landscape. The millennial generation (1981- 2000) are the largest generation yet. Their preferences will have a lasting impact on our cities.
Read the full story here.