Goodbye Small Town, U.S.A., Hello Big City

Millennials, ages 18 to 29, have the greatest population in the U.S., approximately 46 million
people. They are moving to cities for employment and adventure, and once they’ve had their
fill, they are planning to settle in suburbs. Currently, Millennials are not buying cars or houses at
the same rate as generations before them.

“Brain Drain” is a term to describe the movement of a large group of people with technical skills
or knowledge, usually college credentials. The Millennials are brain draining twice. First from
the suburban areas and small towns they grew up in, and second from the cities when they move
to the suburbs for family raising.

According to a 2010 Pew Research study, 32 percent of Millennials live in central cities, 54
percent live in the suburbs, and 14 percent live in towns or rural areas.

Millenials are flocking to the cities, according to Pew research. Photo courtesy of Lebin YuriyNichelle and Quaseem Weems, originally from Beacon, N.Y., live in the Bronx with their
father. Nichelle Weems, 24, is a nurse in Yonkers. Quaseem Weems, 22, is a student at Lehman
College and will graduate in May 2013. After graduation, he plans to stay in the city to find
employment.

In five to 10 years, however, city life may not be enough.

“I want a house and a backyard. That’s how I was raised, that’s what I’m used to,” Quaseem
Weems said.

His sister feels similarly.

“Once I have kids, I want to get out of the city. Probably Westchester,” Nichelle Weems said.

Daniel Skahen, a 25-year-old ad salesman from Newburgh, N.Y., currently resides in Jersey City,
N.J. He has been city dwelling since graduating college in 2009.

“City life will be my life for a while,” Skahen said. “Eventually I’ll live in a suburb with a
family, but not until my mid 30’s.”

In 2010, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 bought just 27 percent of all new vehicles sold in
America, down from the peak of 38 percent in 1985, according to a Federal Reserve study.
The drop in the amount of Millennials buying cars is a result of the economy as well as lack of need
for a car.

“I love the convenience of everything, especially transportation. If I’m having car trouble, I can
just hop on the bus or train for work,” Nichelle Weems said.

Not only are car sales dropping, but the number of Millennials getting their first mortgage is half
of what is was 10 years ago, according to a Federal Reserve study.

Millennials are more likely to live with roommates in apartments. They are also more likely to
get married later in life. According to Pew Research Center, 21 percent of this generation are
married, 4 percent are divorced, and 75 percent are single.

Skahen lives with two roommates, one from college, the other a friend of a friend. When Skahen
first arrived in the city three years ago, he lived with his sister in her loft in Manhattan.

“It was a tough job market, I worked in a coffee shop and yoga place for about a year,” said
Skahen. “When I finally got a job in my field, I moved in with my college buddy.”

Since having a stable job for six months, Nichelle Weems is planning on moving out of her father’s place
in January. She wants to keep her commute between 20 to 25 minutes.

“I want a roommate, but not someone I don’t know,” she said.

Weems has found that the average rent for a one bedroom is $1,000 per month.

The driving force behind moving to cities is the job market although the keeping forces seem
equally as strong. Convenience, adventure, cultures, endless entertainment, the large population
and experiences make the city more attractive to Millennials.

“I like the fact that everybody doesn’t know everybody.” said Quaseem Weems.

Nichelle Weems is enjoying the blend of cultures she faces everyday.

“It’s a whole different world.” said Nichelle Weems. “I learned to speak Spanish in six months.”
Skahen is satisfied with his current living situation.

“Every young person should try [city living]. It toughens your skin and makes you more savvy.”
says Skahen. “It’s a great experience.”

Some SUNY New Paltz students’ seem to line up with the rest of Millennials; city now, suburbs
later.

Computer Science major Shirley Huang, 27, of Kingston, N.Y. wants to move to the city after
graduation.

“There are more work opportunities,” said Huang. “Also transportation.”

Sky Burns, 22, from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. sees herself eventually settling down in Salt Point, N.Y.

“I just always wanted a farm with horses and crops” said Burns. “I want to live in the country
where everyone knows each other.”

Katherine Zhang, 25, a business accounting major from Brooklyn plans to return to New York
City for career opportunities. However, when she settles down she plans to do so in New Paltz.

“I like that it’s small and quiet,” said Zhang.

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