Are We Due for Another Round of Abandoned Inner Cities as the Millennials Hit 30?

That’s the implication of a piece by Haya El Nasser carried by the Gannett New Service:

The older they get, the less likely people are to live in cities, according to recent Census data. The peak age for urban living is 25 to 27, when 20% of that age group are nestled in urban centers. By the age of 41, about a quarter have moved to the suburbs.

Cities recognize this looming challenge and are bracing for the maturing of a generation that sought out coffeehouses, hip entertainment venues and small flats but now is starting to demand soccer fields, good schools and roomy homes.

Yesterday’s post described a potential economic advantage of an urbanized population.  Today’s post suggests the urban renaissance may become a thing of the past.  From a longer-term perspective, it makes sense:  less affluent, less mobile recent immigrants filled city neighborhoods in the first half of the 20th Century.  After World War II, a newly affluent and more mobile middle class began to have families and left the inner city as fast as their DeSotos and Edsels could carry them.  Will history repeat itself as the Millennials age and have kids?

The stakes are high because the oldest of 86 million Millennials are turning 30 this year, a time when many marry and start families. This giant demographic wave is even larger than the 77 million-strong Baby Boomers that have dominated social and cultural trends for decades.

“This Millennial generation is the generation that decides where it’s going to live before it decides what it’s going to do,” says William Fulton, president of policy and research at Smart Growth America, a non-profit national coalition against suburban sprawl. “The stakes are very high. … There are two big quality-of-life things that become important when you have kids: schools and recreational activities.”

An important trend to watch.

Via Planetizen.

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