Before the pandemic hit, many American millennials were well settled. The Brookings Institute reported record-low numbers in terms of intracountry movements in 2019, the result of millennials recovering from the Great Recession of 2007. Then, COVID-19 gave us another kick in the pants.
Millennial movement trends started spiking. Now, migration with the U.S. is being defined by the opportunities to make and save money while accumulating wealth as a homeowner. Millennials have traditionally been underserved in terms of economic opportunities, and the new data still reflects that. A majority of young professionals still live with their parents.
So why did the pandemic prompt such widespread migration among young people? There are a few reasons, all of which play into the overall migration trends of the millennial demographic as a whole.
Why the Pandemic Prompted Movement
Migration during the pandemic was a combination of necessity, safety measures, and opportunities to save money as the national economy took a dip. Pew Research data shows that nearly 1 in 5 U.S. adults either changed residence or know someone who did as a result of the pandemic. Among young adults aged 18-29, as many as 9% were forced to relocate. This demographic was the most impacted by job losses and the shutdown of college housing.
But these were not the only factors determining millennial movements. American adults have moved throughout the pandemic for the following reasons:
- 28% say their move was intended to limit exposure to the virus
- 23% say their move was because of college campus closures
- 20% say they wanted to be with family
- 18% say their move was due to financial reasons like job loss
For some people, these moves were the result of a lack of options. Without the resources needed for living on their own, many millennials had no choice but to move back home. In other cases, however, migration throughout the U.S. was the result of a well-calculated choice based on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analysis. Enterprising millennials conducting such an assessment often found that better opportunities awaited in different parts of the country.
Millennial Migration Trends
Understanding the migration trends of young movers during the pandemic can give you everything you need to know about millennial homebuyers. With more than 72% of millennials considering homeownership their top priority, these often first-time buyers are heading to areas of the country where the getting is good.
SmartAsset conducted a study that showcased exactly what factors influenced migration the most. Migration trends included a pattern of west or south movement, an exodus of America’s biggest cities, and a departure to states with no income tax. The clear winners were states like Colorado, Texas, Washington, and Arizona. In fact, Texas enjoyed the biggest net gain of millennial movers out of any state in the nation, prompted by its lack of income tax and flourishing tech sector.
RentCafe verified the desirability of Texas as the new place to be for millennials — and not just the ones buying homes. For renters, too, the pandemic era has created a sharp uptick in the demand for Austin homes. This may not come as too big of a surprise, as Austin topped our list of best cities for young professionals in the U.S.
With relatively low costs of living and plenty of economic growth still happening around Austin, it and markets like it are making up the bulk of millennial migration. Opportunities in these flourishing markets are only becoming increasingly available with the broad shift to remote work. Now, living in Austin doesn’t even have to mean working in Austin.
Opportunities across the Country
For millennials exploring lucrative opportunities to live, work, and purchase a home in a market where opportunities still exist, keeping abreast of pandemic migration trends is a must. Currently, the lack of supply and high demand is driving up housing costs in most markets. However, with the right analysis, you can apply effective strategies for moving to and thriving in a new city.
If you’re examining new professional opportunities, look for a relocation package that includes moving expenses and resources for purchasing a new home. Opportunities are out there for those willing to make a promising move. But first, conduct a thorough SWOT analysis and address your family needs before uprooting for a chance at homeownership.
About Beau Peters