Otherwise, we're repeatedly told millennials are our future. Perhaps they are, but they are facing some pretty strong headwinds to build their own future.
Recently, the Tampa Bay Business Journal reported Millennials are moving to Tampa, but more are moving to Texas.
The Tampa Bay metro region is near the bottom of the pack of Sunbelt cities that've grown their college-educated Millennial population — but it did beat out Charlotte, N.C.
Think tank City Observatory released a report this week with data on how the nation's 51 largest metros are faring in terms of attracting a young, educated workforce. Between 2000 and 2012, the population of 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree in Tampa Bay grew nearly 41 percent, from 74,341 to 104,532.It's interesting to note that with Houston, San Antonio, and Austin, Texas is widely recognized for promoting the best business environment in the country, as did the TBBJ. It is also interesting that those municipalities, along with Nashville, are pretty much the prototypes of suburban dispersion, and not the urban dream often cited for millennials desires. Texas and Tennessee are low tax low regulation states, and each of the cities is often cited as a top job creator in the current economy. Perhaps that has something to do with it. None of those cities currently has a focus on transit as much as Charlotte, which Tampa beats as far as attracting millennials.
This is consistent with the recent Census data, according to Trulia:
The punchline: millennial population growth in 2012-2013 in big, dense cities was outpaced by big-city suburbs and lower-density cities and even by lower-density suburbs and smaller cities.Trulia goes on to say nine of the 10 metros with the fastest millennial population growth were in the South and West.
Then there's the Times Robert Trigaux, who took the same bait as TBBJ from the think tank City Observatory
A study dubbed "The Young and the Restless and the Nation's Cities," released Monday by the new think tank City Observatory, shows that more 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor's degree or higher level of education are moving to close-in neighborhoods of large metro areas.
"This migration is fueling economic growth and urban revitalization," the study says. We can see it in downtown Tampa and Channelside, in downtown St. Petersburg and a bit so far in Clearwater.
The City Observatory report indicates the "Young and Restless in Close-In Neighborhoods" (basically downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg), grew from 4,673 in 2000, to 7,794 in 2010, or an increase of 3,121. During the same time, Hillsborough County grew from 998,948 to 1,229,224, or an increase of 230,276.
227,155 more people moved into areas outside downtown. Do you think they had a greater economic impact than 3,121 that moved into downtown, regardless of age?
Trigaux seems to have missed that point.
Who is City Observatory?
We’re studying where in cities new jobs are being created and how the nation’s urban cores are doing in generating economic activity.
If you're not in the cities, do you exist for job creation or economic activity?
They launched their site on October 14, 2014. They've been thinking and tanking all of 6 days when TBBJ and the Times Robert Trigaux swallowed the hook. City Observatory are "unabashedly pro-city".
Demographer Wendel Cox has run the numbers and demonstrated that most millenials are moving into the suburbs faster than the urban core.
There is no question that the millennial population has risen in urban cores in recent years. Yet the growth in the younger population in urban cores masks far larger increases in the same population group in other parts of major metropolitan areas and in the nation in general.
|20 - 29 Age group share in major metropolitan areas|
Cox later states
[M]illennials, long said to hate suburbs, have embraced dispersion. The more recently built suburban areas saw their share of 20-29s rise from 20.6 percent to 24.4, an 18 percent gain. A smaller gain was registered in exurban areas, where the share of 20-29s rose from 13.2 percent to 14.3 percent; an 8 percent share gains (Figure 2).
The net effect from 2000 and 2010: a full five percent more of all 20-29s in major metropolitan areas lived in the later suburban and exurban areas, while 5 percent fewer lived in the urban cores and earlier suburbs. The later suburbs and exurbs added 1,500,000 more 20-29s than the urban core and earlier suburbs.
So much for downtown cheerleading.
Hillsborough County Commissioner Mark Sharpe most recently brought forward his concern for millennials in the Transportation Policy Leadership (PLG) on October 21. From the transcript:
>>MARK SHARPE: I THINK A LOT OF
HEADS WERE NODDING WHEN YOU
DISCUSSED NOT DICTATING THE TYPE
-- THE SPECIFIC ALIGNMENT OR THE
LET ME ASK YOU, YOU DID LIST A
LOT OF GROUPS THAT YOU'RE GOING
TO BE REACHING TO, VERY DETAILED
TO BE REACHING TO, VERY
WHAT ABOUT YOUNG -- THE
WORKFORCE, THE FUTURE WORKFORCE?
YOU KNOW, I DON'T WANT TO USE --
I'M GOING TO USE THE WORD, THE
MILLENNIALS THAT EVERYONE'S
WE HAD A LIST HERE.
I THINK WE LEFT OUT VEGANS.
>>MIKE MERRILL: HEY, LEAVE THE
>>MARK SHARPE: I'M 75% ONE OF
SERIOUSLY, BLOOMBERG WAS
REPORTING SEVERAL DAYS AGO THAT
19% -- OR EXCUSE ME -- OF
19-YEAR-OLDERS, 30% DON'T HAVE A
NOW, AS WE'RE BUILDING A SYSTEM
AND WE'RE LOOKING OUT TOWARDS
THE FUTURE, ARE WE GOING TO BE
TALKING TO THE FUTURE?
DO YOU INTEND TO TALK TO THE
FUTURE WORKFORCE AND BRING THEM
INTO THE CONVERSATION?
>>KATHARINE EAGAN: THANK YOU,
I WILL ALLOW MARCO -- STAND UP,
NOT EVERYBODY KNOWS MARCO.
MARCO SANDUSKY IS THE MANAGER OF
COMPLIANCE AND PROGRAMS AT HART,
AND LAST WEDNESDAY, ACTUALLY,
HELD THE INAUGURAL MEETING FOR A
REGIONAL CHAPTER FOR YOUNG
PROFESSIONALS IN TRANSIT.
IT IS A NATIONWIDE ORGANIZATION,
AND THEY ARE TARGETING SPECIFIC
AND THEY ARE TARGETING
SPECIFICALLY MILLENNIALS, SO
THESE ARE THE FOLKS IN THAT
DEMOGRAPHIC VERY INTERESTED IN
TRANSPORTATION IN VARIOUS SHAPES
AND SIZES, SO WE'VE GOT A GREAT
NOW THAT YOU KNOW YOU'RE GOING
TO BE WORKING MORE -- SORRY.
BUT THIS IS JUST ONE EXAMPLE OF
HOW WE ARE GETTING IN CHARGE OF
THIS OUTREACH SO WE'VE GOT THESE
MILLENNIALSENING IN WAYS THAT
ARE BENEFICIAL FOR THEM.
I GUARANTEE THERE ARE A WHOLE
BUNCH OF OTHER THINGS LIKE THAT
>>MARK SHARPE: AND YOU'RE ALSO,
THOUGH -- YOU'RE TALKING, THOUGH
THOUGH -- YOU'RE TALKING,
THOUGH, ABOUT BUILDING A SYSTEM.
THIS IS NOT EITHER/OR.
THERE SEEMS TO BE A DEBATE THAT
JOEL COCKEN AND RICHARD FLORIDA
THAT SAYS YOU'RE ONLY GOING TO
TAKE TRANSIT OR DRIVE A CAR,
WHICH SEEMS TO ME SILLY.
ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT A SYSTEM
WHERE PEOPLE HAVE OPTIONS AND
CHOICES AND CAN DECIDE, YOU KNOW
CHOICES AND CAN DECIDE, YOU
KNOW, TODAY I WANT TO DRIVE, BUT
TOMORROW I MIGHT BE GOING OUT
WITH FRIENDS AND IT'S JUST TOO
DIFFICULT TO FIND PARKING OR I'D
RATHER NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT
IS THAT THE TYPE OF SYSTEM
I MEAN, WE HAVE TO LOOK AT HOW
THE COMMUNITIES ARE GOING TO
GROW, WHERE ARE THEY GOING TO
GROW, AND WHAT ARE THE
IF WE'RE LOOKING ABOUT WHAT
WE'RE DOING TODAY, THEN WE'RE
NOT DOING OUR JOB.
>>MARK SHARPE: AWESOME.
I'm not sure if it's awesome or not to be a millennial, or to make them a core of our rationale for our transportation future.
Researchers and commentators define millennials as those born in the years ranging from the early 1980s to the early 2000s.
In other words, those who are now mostly entering the workforce, early in their career, not yet in their prime earning years.
From an advertising demographic, millennials roughly fit in the 18 - 33 or so age group.
But the most valuable age group that advertisers target are the 25 - 54 age group.
Some overlap, but not much. Why do advertisers focus so much on the 25-54 age group? That's the age range when people marry, raise children, expand their spending, move up the career ladder, and are in their prime earning years. They have more income, and therefore, more money to spend.
The 25 - 54 age group are the biggest demographic driving our economy.
Millenials, on the other hand, are early in their career, unfortunately often have poorer job prospects in the current economy, are commonly heavily burdened in college debt (average $30,000), and delaying marriage and family formation. They have many challenges inhibiting their progress up the economic ladder, and they certainly are not out of the woods.
For example, millennials do want to purchase homes, but don't have the money to come up with the down payment.
So say you’re this average Millennial and you’ve got $30,000 in loans, on which you pay $500 a month at 5 percent interest. It’ll take about five years to pay your loans off. With incomes for graduating college students at $45,000 a year—and honestly, I think that number is a bit generous, National Association of Colleges and Employers--that’s nearly a quarter of your take-home pay.
That’s not to say you’re necessarily struggling, but you’re starting to look at your early 30s as the first available opportunity to buy a home.
And then there's that 20 percent down marker that so many housing experts hold paramount:
“When buying a home today, it's critical to be conservative and to safeguard your purchase,” advises Trulia real estate expert Michael Corbett in the news release. “Forget the 'no money down,' or the 5 and 10 percent down payment purchases. Many banks will be hesitant to give you a mortgage otherwise, and a 20 percent down payment gives you some equity right from the start and usually gets you a lower interest rate. Best rule of thumb: If you can't scrape together the 20 percent, then you probably can't really afford to buy just yet.”
That’s all well and good, but home ownership still holds a solid piece of the Millennial heart. We want to own just as much as our parents did.
Home ownership has historically been one of the key drivers in our economy. Millennials are having to wait to buy that home.
Currently just 26% of millennials — those between age 18 and 33 — are married. At the same age, 36% of GenX and 48% of the Baby Boomers were married. And 69% of millennials say they want to get married, but the lack of jobs is holding them back.
AP has reported almost 6 million young people are neither in school nor working. There are many implications, starting with those young people unable to get in the workforce, start a career and build skills.
The Federal Reserve Bank of New York reported (PDF) around 44 percent of recent college graduates (ages 22–27) were underemployed in 2012—meaning they had jobs that didn’t require a college degree.
Yet, more young adults are living at home, as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year (subscription required).
In a report on the status of families, the Census Bureau on Tuesday said 13.6% of Americans ages 25 to 34 were living with their parents in 2012, up slightly from 13.4% in 2011. Though the trend began before the recession, it accelerated sharply during the downturn. In the early 2000s, about 10% of people in this age group lived at home.
The figures are the latest evidence of the recession's continuing impact on young Americans, who are finding it harder to land jobs and take on the costs of setting up their own homes.
Not to mention the huge national debt overhang the millennials and upcoming generations will have to deal with, leaving them an even harder hill to climb than they would otherwise with our recent economy.
Sure, a few millennials have dramatically driven the new tech economy, such as Facebook and Twitter. But what are the odds of more of those for us in Tampa Bay? Even then, what does it really portend?
In contrast celebrated social media firms, overwhelmingly concentrated close to the venture capital spigot, are both geographically constrained and employ shockingly few workers. The darlings of the bubblicious tech boom — Twitter, Facebook, Zynga, LinkedIn and Google — employ roughly 58,000 people combined; in contrast the old-line tech firm Intel employ 85,000 people, half in the U.S., while ExxonMobil provides livelihoods to 80,000.
In term of profits, the supposed holy grail of business, it’s not even close. In Exxon’s disappointing last quarter it racked up $6.9 billion. By contrast Google earned $3.1 billion, while Facebook made $333 million and LinkedIn $3.7 million. Yet what the new tech oligarchs lack on the balance sheet, they seem to make up for with a combination of presumed potential and PR panache.
The old established businesses still have something going for them too, even for millennials.
Commissioner Sharpe seems to be weighing in on other reports that indicate millennials have less interest in owning cars.
A large majority of Millennials want access to better transit options and the ability to be less reliant on a car, according to a new survey of Millennials in 10 major U.S. cities, released today by The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America. More than half (54%) of Millennials surveyed say they would consider moving to another city if it had more and better options for getting around, and 66% say that access to high quality transportation is one of the top three criteria they would weight when deciding where to live.Perhaps we didn't need to bail out General Motors if we don't need as many cars in the future.
As the article stated, "Saving money is a key driver for many Millennials looking for more public transportation options, particularly among low-income respondents."
In other words, it's the economy stupid. (PDF) People drive less, and are less able to afford cars, due to the poor economy. Millennials included.
Most affected have been men, of all age groups.
|Most men are driving less|
Given the challenges we've outlined above, millennials have to save money... and earn more money than they currently are earning. If they had more earning potential, they'd have more money to spend and contribute much more to the overall economy... and their future.
Perhaps the driving boom is over, or perhaps it will be augmented by autonomous vehicles, which may increase travel more. There are many changes occurring now or in progress from online shopping, increasing telecommuting, increase in social network technologies, to car sharing that may affect miles traveled and car ownership. We really don't know where all this will end. But many of the same affects will also affect public transit options.
Millennials will be challenged to move up into the middle-class and be the big driver of the economy that we all want if they continue to be underemployed or not employed at all.
Millenials and the rest of use we will all be better served if we improve their economic and employment prospects rather than simplifying the solution as more transit.
Then they may want to help support the economy and buy a few more cars.