Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Survey Millennials Now And Then They Grow Up

The one consistency about our local media is false narratives they continue reporting about. Today's Tribune does not disappoint with their front page above the fold article titled Tampa wants millennial workers; survey will explore how to lure them

As reported by the Tribune, 
The Tampa Hillsborough Economic Development Corp. has commissioned a survey of millennial CEOs and workers in competing markets to ask what would persuade them to relocate here for a job or to move their company to Hillsborough County.
The EDC is investing $35,000 to conduct the survey, which will be completed in May. Bauer said the EDC hopes to create a plan based on the results.
Who is the EDC? A public-private partnership we posted about in 2013. Many of their "investors" are taxpayer funded entities or organizations that receive taxpayer monies. Hillsborough County taxpayers handed the EDC $700K in 2015 and $600K for 2016. Last year the city of Tampa provided the EDC with $538K of city tax dollars. 

There is some very good news in the Tribune article regarding Florida and the Tampa Bay area:
The Kauffman Foundation, which focuses on entrepreneurship and education, ranks the Tampa metro area sixth in startup density behind Miami, New York City, Orlando, Austin and Denver. 
Florida is also listed in the top 10 states for startup density.
We are not surprised. This, however, should make one pause about spending billions on transportation options that may become irrelevant in the next decade or two. Better to stay flexible and nimble and able to take advantage of new technology and innovation than be tied down forever or decades with costly projects such as high cost rail.  

Of course the Tribune cannot help themselves as they must bring in the transportation issue by citing a two year old 2014 Rockefeller Foundation survey. 
Studies, including one by the Rockefeller Foundation in 2014, say many millennials want access to better transit options and the ability to rely less on their cars or to give them up altogether. 
More than half surveyed rank transportation options as one of their top three criteria for deciding where to live. 
They want walkability and parks and stores and restaurants near their homes. 
That is the kind of information needed for this area to create the right atmosphere to draw and keep millennials, Bauer said. 
Why did the Tribune cite this particular two year old study? Which Tribune "handler" handed them this study? A simple Google search will bring up lots of information and more current information regarding millennials. We can certainly speculate who the "handler" is…….

The Rockefeller Foundation is not the bastion of conservatism but has a history of funding and supporting Progressive policies - universal health care, globalism, Smart Growth, costly climate change policies while opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and ironically advocating for eliminating the use of fossil fuels. (Rockefeller owned Standard Oil). They provide grants to other Progressive organizations.

Rockefeller Foundation used the Global Strategy Group to conduct the survey sited. A list of Global Strategy Group clients can be found here. Click on the tabs Politics and Causes.

The survey was done of millennials in 10 major US cities across three tiers of transportation systems - "Mature" (Chicago, NYC, San Francisco), "Growing" (Charlotte, Denver, LA (huh?), Minneapolis-St. Paul) and "Aspiring" (Indianapolis, Nashville, Tampa-St. Petersburg). 

Nowhere are the terms "mature, growing and aspiring" defined so one must make that determination themselves. Could it be based on the amount of public transit? Who knows?

The actual survey done in 2014 by the Global Strategy Group is found hereSeventy-one percent of those surveyed were ages 18-29, including 38% who were 18-24, the most of any age category - that age group is recent high school graduates, college aged, and many who have just started a career or haven't begun to start a career or a family. Only 29% surveyed were in the 30-34 age category - those more likely to have started a career, perhaps started a family, and probably more fiscally responsible as they take on more responsibility for their own and/or their families livelihoods.

What were the political affiliations of those millennials surveyed?
58% leaned Democrat vs 19% leaned Republican
58% leaned Democrat, including 28% who were strong Democrats, vs 19% leaning Republican, including 7% who were strong Republicans and 18% Independents. Does that accurately reflect actual demographics, especially in Hillsborough? We don't think so. 

Read the questions and the statements made whether to agree or not and anyone can determine this was a push poll. 

What were some of the results for "aspiring" Tampa-St. Petersburg?
65% rated their cities public transportation fair to excellent, including 33% who rated it good to excellent. Note that 12% did not know or refused to answer.

95% have access to a car in their household, including 80% who have their own car

87% on any given day use a car 

86% never, once or twice or rarely use public transportation, including 53% who never

Then page 3 they get to the "feel good push questions" 
Importance of services (click to enlarge)
Read through the rest of the questions and remember most of those interviewed are 18-29 year olds. There are contradictions throughout and no indication of the actual cost for these services were provided - other than pushing the attitude that cars are bad, cars are dangerous, cars cost too much and someone else should be paying for their "affordable" public transit - even though 80% have their own cars….

The Tribune must have intentionally missed one of the last questions - or else their "handlers" did not tell them. 
"Aspring" Millennials will not give up their cars

66% disagree, including 33% who strongly disagree, with seriously considering giving up their car even if they "could" count on public transportation…..and other "affordable" options.

That squares with this recent AP story 
Now the largest generation in the U.S., millennials bought 4 million cars and trucks in the U.S. last year, second only to the baby boomers, according to J.D. Power's Power Information Network, which defines millennials as those between 21 and 38 in 2015. Millennials' share of the new car market jumped to 28 percent.

In the country's biggest car market, California, millennials outpaced boomers for the first time. 
But as they got jobs and started families, millennials headed into car dealerships just like previous generations.
"Millennials are going to be the main generation we will cater to as an industry," says John Humphrey, J.D. Power's senior vice president of global automotive operations. 
The Tribune published some broad statements about the Rockefeller Foundation survey with absolutely "no context" about who was actually polled or about any of the specific questions asked. That enables false narratives to be created. 

This article from March 2015 titled Think Millennials Prefer The City? Think Again.
According to U.S. Census Bureau data released this week, 529,000 Americans ages 25 to 29 moved from cities out to the suburbs in 2014; only 426,000 moved in the other direction. Among younger millennials, those in their early 20s, the trend was even starker: 721,000 moved out of the city, compared with 554,000 who moved in.1 Somewhat more people in both age groups currently live in the suburbs than in the city.
The common narrative isn’t entirely wrong about the long-term trend lines. Millennials are moving to the suburbs at a much lower rate than past generations did at the same age. In the mid-1990s, people ages 25 to 29 weretwice as likely to move from the city to the suburbs as vice versa. Today, they’re only about a quarter more likely. But even that slowdown appears to be mostly about people delaying their move to the suburbs, not forgoing it entirely. Today’s 30- to 44-year-olds are actually heading for the suburbs at a significantly faster rate than in the 1990s.
But a survey released earlier this year found that most millennials still want a traditional suburban experience, complete with big single-family homes. The American Community Survey, which provides a more granular look than the data released this week, tells much the same story, said Jed Kolko, chief economist of the real estate site Trulia.
According to this recent Citilabs (a news site that promotes the urban lifestyle) post by Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, an online real estate site.
America’s population growth trends are reverting to pre-2000 patterns as the housing bubble and its aftermath recede.
Kolko has lots of data as it is his business to get it right.

Here's another article published today about the resurgence of the suburbs THE SUN BELT IS RISING AGAIN, NEW CENSUS NUMBERS SHOW.
From 2009-11, Americans seemed to be clustering again in dense cities, to the great excitement urban boosters. The recently released 2015 Census population estimates confirm that was an anomaly. Americans have strongly returned to their decades long pattern of greater suburbanization and migration to lower-density, lower-cost metropolitan areas, largely in the South, Intermountain West and, most of all, in Texas.
The Tribune is acting as the stenographer for the transitarians and urbanistas. The narrative they are selling is already old, stale and out of date. 

We must make decisions and investments based on reality, real data and not opinion surveys or media created myths. 

Perhaps the EDC should use some of their funding dollars to analyze actual data….

Yes, millennials today are a huge segment of the working population, especially as the baby boomers continue retiring. However as they age and the economy has gotten better, they are behaving more and more like previous generations.  

Because millennials do grow up. 


  1. Sounds like the Tribune is trying to invent reasons why we must have light rail - "for the children!" They'll be stenographers all over again when the EDC releases their report that is bound to concur with the Kauffman findings. Perhaps the EDC will even subcontract the study to Kauffman to be sure. The crony campaign to tax you for trains you won't ride begins! It's 2010 all over again.

  2. It is almost impossible to predict what the consumer preferences will be 20 years, down the road, because we don't know exactly where the technology will be. All studies show Millennials are very accepting of the new autonomous vehicle technology. That technology, depending on the rate of market penetration, will make rail transit even less effective than it is today. Ask the EDC why the tax base for the city of Tampa and Hillsborough county have tripled in the last 20 years? Why has downtown Tampa gone through a resurgence? How were Hillsborough county and Tampa able to recover faster than most areas of the country after the worse financial crisis in 80 years? All despite no trains but having double bus transit using only 20 more bus than they had in 1997. It has more to do with the weather and less taxes than more transit.

  3. "The Rockefeller Foundation is not the bastion of conservatism but has a history of funding and supporting Progressive policies - universal health care, globalism, Smart Growth, costly climate change policies while opposing the Keystone XL pipeline and ironically advocating for eliminating the use of fossil fuels."

    With the exception of globalism, all are policies for the greater good that the majority of Americans support.

    Not a fan of rail for the Bay area, but how do you reconcile that the cost of car ownership and driving is eating up a larger and larger portion of people's budget?
    Not to mention it's contribution to rising CO2 levels, our addiction to oil / dependence on foreign oil, and congestion...