CityLab: Young Adult Population Will Rise, And They Still Prefer Urban Living

January 25, 2017

The New York Times published a piece Monday that argued that the population of city-dwelling Millennials has peaked. Joe Cortright of CityLab takes issue with the story, maintaining that the young adult population will continue to rise, and that they’ll continue to prefer living close to city centers.

The key issue for the Times was that the number of 25-year-olds in the U.S. had reached its high point. People at 25 are more likely to deal with some of the downsides of an urban lifestyle (high rents, low wages) than older groups. CityLab, though, says that the Millennial population is much larger than past generations. “The number of 25- to 34-year-olds in the United States will increase each year from now through 2024, rising from 44.1 million in 2015 to 47.6 million in 2024,” Cortright writes.

Also, the Times operated under the logic that as young adults achieve more career success, get married and start families, suburban life becomes more appealing. That doesn’t quite match the data, though. Cortright notes that over the last four decades, the share of young adults living within three miles of a city center has increased significantly. In 1980, young adults were only 10 percent more likely than all metro residents to live within three miles of the center of a city. In 2010, 25- to 34-year olds with four-year degrees were more than 100 percent more likely to live near the urban core.

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