Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On Millennials and downtown, maybe it is just the time of year.

This is the story: Millennials don't like suburbs. They want to live in the city. Millennials don't like cars. They prefer transit. We should embrace the future and quit spending so much on roads. We should, instead, spend more on urban mass transit including projects such a streetcars that, on their face, seem indefensible.

But the story may be wrong. Over at Right Wisconsin, I write about some recent work that changes the story. Millennials like the suburbs. In fact, more of them are leaving the city than our moving in. While the relatively small cohort that is college educated may be more likely to reside in the city than previous generations, it is unclear whether this is a long term preference or an artifact of delayed marriages and family formation.

I find this completely unsurprising. Whenever someone suggests that human beings are about to radically change their behavior, there is a substantial probability that the claim is wrong. We Baby Boomers were so unique that, with Joni Mitchell, we believed our enthusiasms were not just the "time of the year" but the "time of man."

As it turned out, not so much.

Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin.

1 comment:

jvc said...

This sounds related to the idea that Baby Boomers are going to move back downtown. Somehow, I don't think the crime wave in Milwaukee is going to encourage people to leave Franklin for the East Side.