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Young Adults Pick Small Towns Over Big Cities

More millennials and younger Gen Xers are leaving the big cities behind and opting for smaller towns to call home. Since 2014, an average of about 30,000 residents between the ages of 25 and 39 have departed big cities annually, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures. Smaller cities have been seeing some of the largest influxes of the millennial generation.

Young adults who freelance or have telecommuting jobs are more likely to move out of urban job centers and move out to smaller towns. Towns like Boise, Idaho, and Charlotte, N.C., are seeing their populations grow at a faster rate than most big cities, Census Bureau data shows.

Young adults are in search of more affordable housing, larger lots, quality schools, and lower costs.

“The fiercely independent nature of millennials has made indie enclaves in cities such as Portland (Ore.), Austin (Texas), and Charlotte, attractive options for settling down,” a 2018 study by Rent.com notes. “The so-called ‘hipster’ culture has become somewhat of the poster child for 20-somethings, even if none of them would dare to admit it. The thriving art cultures of smaller cities give young people the opportunity to live cheaply while still being able to express themselves.”

Small towns near large cities are a popular choice. For example, Milwaukee, Wis., is about a 30-minute car ride from Chicago and is drawing more young people there for its affordable rent and cultural offerings, the Rent.com report notes.

Source: “Millennials Are Coming to America’s Small Towns,” The Wall Street Journal (Oct. 14, 2019)  

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