While there are studies, like a Nielsen survey saying 62 percent of millennials currently prefer to live in an urban setting, Wendell Cox, an urban planner, says reports of millennials ‘flocking’ to cities have been exaggerated. “
In context of the total millennial population, it is small,” he says, noting that cities have experienced population growth, but only in their downtown areas (considered within 2 miles of city hall). Areas 3 to 5 miles outside of city hall have experienced a population decrease, often leveling out the downtown growth, he adds.
The problem with predicting millennials’ future preferences for living in urban areas off of their current preferences is that the majority of millennials are in their 20s, an age when most are single and not yet thinking of settling down. An urban lifestyle suits them right now, but as they grow up, get married, and have kids, other preferences like good school districts likely will take priority.