Will 'Urban 'Burbs' Draw More Millennials to Suburbs?

March 4, 2014

Baby boomers who want to downsize and sell their large suburban homes may have trouble finding a buyer, as Millennials look to make roots in urban areas rather than suburbs or rural areas, according to a new report by Nielsen.

Sixty-two percent of Millennials say they prefer to live in a mixed-use community in urban centers, where they can live in close proximity to shopping, restaurants, and work, the report finds. Millennials currently live in urban areas at a higher rate than any other previous generation, according to the Nielsen report. What’s more, 40 percent say they don’t plan to leave the city in the future.

“The ‘American Dream’ is transitioning from the white picket fence in the suburbs to the historic brownstone stoop in the heart of the city,” the report notes.

Suburban developers are coining the term “urban 'burbs” as suburban communities move toward more urban environments that include walkable downtown areas, transit-friendly areas, and mixed housing types. The report notes that cities such as Miami, San Antonio, Memphis, Tenn., Portland, Ore., and Jersey City, N.J., have adopted such principles to make their suburban areas more appealing to younger generations.

The highest concentration of Millennials in the country is in Austin, Texas, which has nearly 1.2 times the national average rate of Millennials. “Austin fits the ideal for Millennials, with urban energy, an exciting art and music scene, and close proximity to shopping, dining, offices, and education,” the report notes.

Millennials are most-concentrated in Western states. According to the report, the following cities have the highest concentration of Millennials:

  • Austin, Texas: 16%
  • Salt Lake City, Utah: 15%
  • San Diego: 15%
  • Los Angeles: 14%
  • Denver: 14%
  • Washington, D.C.: 14%
  • Houston: 14%
  • Las Vegas: 14%
  • San Francisco: 14%
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas: 14%

Source: “Millennials: Breaking the Myths,” Nielsen.com (2014)

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