Kansas City: A Millennial Magnet?
by Jeff Pinkerton
A new Wall Street Journal post highlights the growth in millennials (those aged 25-34) in Washington, D.C. In total, our capitol city added more than 12,000 millennials between 2010 and 2012. The article also lists changes in this population segment in other metros. Here in Kansas City, we’re well behind D.C. in population growth among millennials, but we rank favorably among all metros. The Kansas City metro added 2,188 millennials between 2010 and 2012. Even though this was good enough for 14th on the list, it was still down from the 2007-2009 period when we added nearly 3,000.
This is more than just an interesting tidbit of data. Migration patterns give us some insight into our overall regional economic health. The highest-ranking cities shown on the chart above are a virtual “who’s who” of high-growth, high-tech metro economies (Washington, Denver, Austin, Portland, Seattle, etc.). Millennials are more likely to move where there is economic opportunity — many in this age group are not yet tied to a particular location by a mortgage or family. So if a city attracts this demographic, it must be providing good opportunities for our most opportunistic generation.
Many cities would like to emulate the successes of places like Austin or Seattle by attracting young talent to grow their economies. Judging by the company we are keeping in this one particular measure, our efforts are showing results.