Millennials flock to urban areas

Boston Harbour Skyline. Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

By Colin Daniels


For decades, college graduates and young professionals have been moving to metropolitan areas. Now, many millennials from all over seem to be gravitating to the Greater Boston area.

The Boston Public Garden. Photo by MK Feeney.
The Boston Public Garden. Photo by MK Feeney.

In 2015, Cambridge, Mass. was ranked by Forbes as the No. 1 city for millennials. Currently, Cambridge has a 27.7 percent population between the ages of 25-34. This fact may leave people wondering what Cambridge and the Boston area have that draws young people.

“I moved to the city thinking there was going to be more of an opportunity to grow professionally,” said Chris Hernandez, a current Boston resident. Many companies are expanding into the Boston area. Along with the various amounts of schools in the area, and the job market in Boston metro growing, one can assume this is why Forbes ranked Cambridge number one.

Companies like New Balance, Google and starting this summer, GE, have headquarters and offices in the Boston area. “What’s new in some places is that corporations and jobs are leaving suburban office parks to relocate in central cities, because they know that cities are where many millennials want to be,” said Alan Ehrenhalt, a journalist for Governing Magazine focusing on urban movement.

Millennials want to be close to things like local transportation and nightlife. “I wanted to move to a city because I lived in a small town– probably common for most millennials– and I really wanted to be right next to the action,” said Carley Arnold, 24, a current Austin, Texas resident.

“I grew up in a small town, went to college in a small town, studied abroad in a small town – and it was time for something new. I told myself, ‘I think I’m a small town person, but I need to live in a big city first before I can really declare that‘,” said Lynette Cole, 23, a current Boston resident.

Beacon Hill in Boston. Photo by Darron Schall.
Beacon Hill in Boston. Photo by Darron Schall.

Public transportation is very important to millennials who do not want to have to drive everywhere, but be able to walk. In a new survey from The Urban Land Institute Boston/New England and The MassINC Polling Group, 80 percent of young professionals ranked access to public transit as important when choosing a place to live. More went on to say public transit was more important than things like nightlife and shopping.

In addition, 81 percent of respondents said having an easy commute to work or school was also important. “Understanding the preferences this group of professionals has on transportation, lifestyle, housing, and employment can assist city planners, developers and employers shape our city landscape,” said Taylor Shepard, the co-chair of ULI (Urban Land Institute), Boston’s Young Leaders Group, in the poll results.

“The overall population trends underscore that people flocking to cities remain a select class, mostly of the young, educated and affluent who can afford rising prices.” said Laura Kusisto of Wall Street Journal on current housing trends for millennials. However, she does mention how the rest of the population is moving to the suburbs.

Millennials want to be in the midst of everything, which occurs in a city. “The city is where everything is!” said Ivy Leja, 24, a current Boston resident on why she likes living in a city, especially here in Boston. With things constantly going on and having access to public transportation, these factors make it worthwhile living in a city.

About Colin Daniels 4 Articles
Colin Daniels is a current journalism graduate student at Emerson College pursuing his Master’s degree. His background is in communications and media relations. After graduating, Colin is looking to pursue his career in communications and journalism.