Are millennials ready to sacrifice the conveniences of city living for life in the suburbs?

More than a decade ago, many downtowns across the country emptied out at 5 p.m., when the bankers, lawyers and government employees commuted to their subdivision homes. But in their quest for unique spaces and less sprawl, millennials (and others, such as empty-nester boomers) have made urban living cool again.

National data released by the U.S. Census Bureau this fall suggest that as these 23- to 38-year-olds marry and have kids, they’re putting city life on pause and heading for the outskirts, where homes tend to be more affordable and schools have higher test scores. The headline of a CNBC article even read, “Millennials are fleeing big cities for the suburbs.” Atlanta’s millennials, though, are sticking to Main Street. In Atlanta’s urban core, millennials are 20% of the population, edged out only by the suburb of Brookhaven, where they make up 21%, according to JLL Atlanta research.

Compared with other popular eastern U.S. cities, Atlanta leads the pack when it comes to millennials moving into the city from within the state. In 2017, according to the Census Bureau’s geographic mobility data, 7.8% of millennials in-migrated to Atlanta from outside of Fulton County. This is more than the percentages of in-state millennial relocations to the cities of Chicago, New York, Nashville and Dallas. Atlanta also beat Chicago, Dallas and New York for millennials who moved to the city from outside the state.


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