Young adults are increasingly leaving bigger cities behind and setting up home in smaller towns, according to an analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The Wall Street Journal reports that an average of 30,000 people aged between 25 and 29 have departed from big cities each year since 2014. In addition, smaller cities have seen a large influx of millennials and Gen Xers in the same period.
The most likely young adults to leave a bigger city for a smaller town are those who work as freelancers, or who’re able to telecommute. The result is that the trend has seen smaller towns like Boise, Idaho and Charlotte, North Carolina grow their populations at a much faster rate than most bigger cities, the Census Bureau data shows.
Some of the reasons for younger adults abandoning the big cities include more affordable housing, larger lots, better quality schools and lower cost of living.
“The fiercely independent nature of millennials has made indie enclaves in cities such as Portland (Ore.), Austin (Texas), and Charlotte, attractive options for settling down,” a 2018 study by Rent.com found. “The so-called ‘hipster’ culture has become somewhat of the poster child for 20-somethings, even if none of them would dare to admit it. The thriving art cultures of smaller cities give young people the opportunity to live cheaply while still being able to express themselves.”
Small towns near large cities are a popular choice. For example, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is about a 30-minute car ride from Chicago and is drawing more young people there for its affordable rent and cultural offerings, the Rent.com report noted.