The region has a lot of millennials - but they did not grow up here and may not stay
The Greater Washington region enjoys a large population of millennials, and is ranked #2 among the top 20 metro regions in the US - second only to San Francisco and just past Boston. More than half of millennials (58%) coming to the region are from out of town, and come here for job opportunities, personal growth, and well paying work. Although other areas continue to be a competitive playing field for millennials, what the DC region has to offer continually attracts this growing sector of the workforce.
The ranking is based on a relative (100%) greater metro region in the US. For instance, cities like San Diego and Atlanta hit the average mark. These cities, along with the top 20 cities compared, set the benchmark.
Jobs, money, and housing are major
The three largest areas of concern in the report are job availability, salary levels, and housing affordability. According to the report, job availability was the only area out of the 33 factors researched labeled as an “extremely important” to millennials. The major reasons for living in the greater washington region are congruent with this need: on average, close to half (49%) of millennials in the area cited the reason for living in the area is due to securing a job in the region.
Along with jobs, well-paying jobs are the second most important factor for millennials in the greater washington region. Interestingly, those who make over six figures consider pay just as important as those making less. This makes sense - as many moved to the region for work in the first place. While millennials enjoy a region with 20% higher salaries than other cities on average, there are still challenges with being able to afford housing.
While cities typically have higher housing costs than non-metro areas, the greater washington region has housing prices that are two times more expensive than the national average. The unease of being able to afford a home doesn’t change significantly from region to region, or from salary level to salary level. Across the board, millennials do not feel like they are able to afford a home in the area - on average, only about 29% of millennials feel confident that they can afford to purchase a home.
Ease and versatility of commute is troubling
Millennials prefer to live close to their jobs, but that is not an easy thing to do in the greater Washington region. Compared to the national average (62%), only 43% of commuters in the area are able to get to work in 30 minutes or less. And while the region has a plethora of alternative commuting opportunities, including the Metro, bikesharing, bus, or carpooling, more than half of commuters in the area decide to drive by themselves. Although the area has sources to help alleviate traffic, millennials think it’s still expensive and time consuming to get to work in the region.
Millennials are not very committed to the region
While many millennials arrive here for work, many are willing to relocate for work outside of the area. For the half of respondents that live in the area because of jobs, most (78%) are willing to leave the area for better job opportunities elsewhere.
While the area does a great job of attracting millennials, something needs to change in order to keep them in the area.