Snapshots

Philadelphia 18-34 year-old population remains steady while many other large cities see a decline

A significant amount of press has recently been devoted to data that demonstrate that Millennials are beginning to depart Philadelphia.

December 04, 2019
  • A significant amount of press has recently been devoted to data that demonstrate that Millennials are beginning to depart Philadelphia. While 2018 definitely represented a small dip in the percentage change of 18-34 year-olds since 2005 (-0.6%), this change represents a year-over-year change of only about 2,200 in a city that is currently home to more than 458,000 18-34 year-olds, a number that has increased by about 133,000 since 2005.
  •  Perhaps this change is more interestingly viewed in the context of a year when many of the ten largest cities around the U.S. “lost” large numbers of young people. San Diego lost over 21,000 young people, Chicago lost 9,000, and New York City lost nearly 100,000. To be sure, some of the data are likely reflective of young families moving out of large cities for less expensive housing and better schools, but there could also be a cohort effect—older Millennials are aging out of the 18-34 cohort, while Gen Z, the younger generation phasing in, is significantly smaller, producing a net negative effect in the overall numbers.
  • Overall among these cities, what is clear is that cost of living appears to be playing some part. The cities that lost 18-34 year-olds 2017-2018 were largely some of the most expensive to live in, while more affordable cities managed to retain a larger portion of their young population, suggesting that perhaps a reshuffling of population to lower cost metros is in store. 

Source: JLL Research, U.S. Census Bureau

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