This story is from the 2016 Access 25: How Mobility is Reshaping the Globe. Explore more from this issue

The Urban Millennial Migration

Gen Y’s 77 million members are on the march to metro centers around the U.S.

March 2016


It’s a fact: U.S. millennials are spurning the suburbs and exurbs for urban living. And it’s happening in places you might not expect: Salt Lake City, Houston, Nashville and even economically challenged cities such as Detroit and Buffalo.

What’s behind the trend? Lower costs of living offer one reason. Millennials’ ambivalence about car ownership — driven in part by the emergence of Uber, Lyft and the like — provides another. What lies ahead? Millennials may vacate cities to raise their kids. Or they may not. Whatever the outcome, this much is certain: The trend is fueling economic growth and urban revitalization — and also pushing metro areas to rethink approaches to development. Miami, San Antonio, Phoenix and other cities have embraced initiatives to create walkable neighborhoods in the last few years.

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