Need A Young Workforce? Millennials Move
for More Than Money. Here’s Where and Why.


David Zamudio

The old New York catchphrase, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere,” may now be a dusty oldie. Today’s talent pool is looking for the right mix of culture, amenities and work/life balance and research is showing that gateway markets like New York are simply too expensive, even for those who are doing well financially. Millennials, specifically, are finding exactly what they need in secondary markets that provide an urban atmosphere with a variety of lifestyle amenities and most important, a cost of living that is often far less than gateway cities like New York.

According to a recent SmartAsset analysis of IRS data, more young residents moved away from New York than any other state in the nation.

According to a recent SmartAsset analysis of IRS data, more young residents moved away from New York than any other state in the nation. These young residents are known as “rich Millennials,” — about 4,867 were surveyed who had adjusted incomes of $100,000 or more. This is more than twice the number of “rich Millennials” leaving Illinois, which has the second largest Millennial exodus.

Keep in mind that for the young workforce, it is not just about living cheap; it’s about living well. This includes urban areas with good bike scores, walk scores, transit scores and popular lifestyle amenities such as mixed-use developments, high-tech multifamily properties, and, of course, great bars, restaurants and entertainment venues.

These new “urban nodes” are often located in secondary markets, or 18-hour cities. Investopedia defines these as markets with higher-than-average urban population growth but also featuring a lower cost of living. This type of market also includes a lower cost of doing business, compared to the “big six” gateway cities of Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

According to JLL’s Money Report (July 2019) here are the Top 10 markets attracting Millennials based of overall average cost of living (the percentage next to each market is the “percentage of the average”):

  • Louis — 14.1%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  156,100

 

  • Austin — 11.9%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  329,800

 

  • Raleigh-Durham — 11.0%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  208,700

 

  • Minneapolis — 9.1%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  312,100

 

  • Richmond — 9.1%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  103,000

 

  • Kansas City — 7.6%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  186,300

 

  • Cincinnati — 5.9%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  175,600

 

  • Memphis — 5.8%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  72,500

 

  • Columbus — 4.9%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  214,300

 

  • Houston — 4.5%
    Local jobs added between 2010 and 2019:  650,300

 

The study accounts for each city’s cost-of-living index, as well as income adjusted for the cost of living. Also examined is the U.S. average Millennial income ($79,300), adjusted for each city’s cost of living. Finally, each city’s local jobs added from 2010 to 2019 was calculated, along with the local unemployment rate.

Houston may be #10, but it reflects the strength of all the contenders that top list: Millennials are getting more bang for their buck in these markets. According to the Houston Business Journal, in places like Los Angeles, New York and Miami, Millennials can expect to earn about $60,000 annually on average after adjusting for the cost of living.

KBS has been ahead of this trend with well-located multi-tenant office properties in most of these Top 10 markets:

St. Louis
101 South Hanley

Austin
515 Congress
Domain Gateway
Park Centre

Raleigh-Durham
Bank of America Tower
Park Central Apartments

Minneapolis
RBC Plaza
Marquette Plaza

Houston
1800 Bering
1800 West Loop South
The Offices at Greenhouse
West Loop I&II

 

Need A Young Workforce? Millennials Move<BR>for More Than Money. Here’s Where and Why. Dave zamudio web 01 212x300
David Zamudio, Senior Vice President of Human Resources