Big City Boom: Why Millennials Are Shunning Small Towns

Big City Boom: Why Millennials Are Shunning Small Towns

It sounds like the setup for a romantic comedy: the bright-eyed 20-something raised in small-town America moves to the Big City to pursue a dream career.

As it turns out, this scenario is less the stuff of movies and more the stuff of reality—Millennial men and women are increasingly leaving rural areas for life in the cities and suburbs.


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To be sure, the population of Millennials in small towns is on the rise—it's just rising much faster in the suburbs and cities. And research suggests this generation may be more eager to leave small-town life behind than any generation before them—even amid all the headlines that say they are struggling financially.

Cost does not seem to be a deterrent to relocating. At least one study finds that Gen Y is relocating to places where rents and mortgages are very high. Between 2007 and 2013, the most popular counties for Millennials to move to had a median home price of $406,800.

One big reason why they may be willing to shell out more to live in urban areas is because these locales offer a wider range of job options. For example, the places that drew the greatest number of Millennials between 2007 and 2013 were Arlington County, Va. and Alexandria City, Va., where the unemployment rates in June were 3.6% and 4.0%, much lower than the national average of 6.1%.

Looking to wave small-town life goodbye and find a gig in a bustling metropolis? Check out which cities boast the happiest employees in the country.


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