Millennials are moving to America’s cities — and not just the biggest ones. While places like New York City and Los Angeles remain millennial magnets, research from the Urban Land Institute shows that smaller cities, from Norfolk-Virginia Beach, Va., to Riverside, Calif., are actually seeing the most relative growth in their population of 25-to-34-year-olds.
By David Johnson
Virginia Beach’s uptick in millennials — a 16% increase from 2010 to 2015 in the metro area — is no surprise to Bryan Stephens, president of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, which includes Virginia Beach, Norfolk and Newport News. Several years ago, Stephens’ department asked local millennials what would make the region a more attractive place to live, work and raise a family. In response to the survey’s results, the city has focused on extending a Norfolk light rail, which launched in 2011, as well as developing new restaurants and revamping city centers. “All of that has been deliberately evolved over the past few years,” Stephens says. (Virginia Beach has also earned a reputation for being an attractive home for retirees too.)
Of the 50 metro areas analyzed, most urban centers saw an increase in millennials from 2010 to 2015, while 11 cities saw a decline. New York City had the greatest increase in the total number of millennials, with 29,774 added from 2010 to 2015. But that only represented a 2.5% uptick, placing New York at the bottom of the list below.