Millennials are Heading to the Suburbs. Here’s Why.

Mar 24, 2019

Millennials are the first generation to reach adulthood in the 2000s. Surpassing Baby Boomers at 73 million strong, are already ushering in changes that will reshape America as we know it, including the geographical composition of the US population.


A lot of people have a lot to say about this generation of digital natives, but one thing is certain: millennials place a higher emphasis on quality of living than any of their predecessors. They’re waiting longer to get married and start families, support eco-friendly businesses and spend more of their disposable income on living life to the fullest.


For many of those born between 1981 and 1996, that means ditching their exorbitantly priced city digs for suburbia, where top-rated schools, artsy downtown, spacious lots and expansive homes abound. These perks sound appealing, right? Other millennials think so, too, and since the peak period for millennial home-buying—2020—is around the corner, now is the perfect time to make the move to the ‘burbs.


On the fence about it? We get it. City living does have its conveniences, but just think about what you have to gain:


Lower Cost of Living

Competition for housing, gentrification and other trends are driving up home prices in many major markets, with Boston, Seattle, San Jose and Jersey City all seeing double-digit growth in 2017-18. For many homeowners, that also means a higher income-mortgage ratio.


Inner-city homeowners can expect to spend 26.5% of their income on their mortgage (36.8% for renters), compared to a sweet 20.2% for suburbanites. And in some major cities that deficit is even greater; in New York City, for example, urban dwellers pay about 40% of their income versus 21% in the suburbs. Austin? 26.4% vs. 14%. Sacramento? 37% vs. 28%. That’s a lot less loot for eating out, vacations and gadgets.


More Space

Tired of paying an arm and a leg for cramped city quarters? In the suburbs, you don’t have to. Three- to four-bedroom homes are common in the suburbs, and most have basements, attics, garages and ample space for making family memories, or letting Fido out without traveling 10 stories.


Easier Access to A+ Schools

If any generation will change the disparity between urban and suburban schools, it’s the socially minded millennials. That said, today, suburban schools tend to far surpass their urban counterparts. Suburban schools tend to have more qualified educators, newer facilities, more programming and a higher standard for education. Plus, there’s no lottery or applying to your zoned public school. Simply show up with proof of residence and your kids score a spot in that A+ school right around the corner.



Green Space, Parks and Trails

Living in the suburbs is a breath of fresh air—literally. Yards are the norm, plus suburban homes are never far from a park, trail and other green space that make it easy to stay in shape and connect with nature.


Less Traffic

The constant sound of city streets is music to the ears of some city dwellers, but most are happy to trade it for the peace and quiet of suburban living—and the reduced traffic that comes with it. Running to the grocery store or planning a play date is easier, and many communities are minutes from train stations for a simple commute.


Healthier, Eco-Friendly Living

A smaller environmental footprint is a must for many millennials, and many families make a bigger difference by relocating to the suburbs where they can install solar panels, opt into renewable energy-buying programs and fill containers at the local health food market without making five trips on foot. Plus, pollution tends to be much lower in the ‘burbs—always a plus.


Bringing the City’s Best With Them

The trend we see is that not only are millennials moving to improve their quality of life, but they’re bring all the good stuff with them. Boutique exercise classes, great restaurants run by celebrity chefs, gourmet coffee shops and indy films are now all part of the day to day, whether you’re in the city or the suburbs.


It’s what you know

Sure, the pace of life is different in the suburbs, but many millennials find it preferable for work, play and raising a family—especially if you grew up in suburbia. Suburban communities have it all—access to world-class shopping, award-winning restaurants, cultural eateries, diners, bars, festivals, museums, art galleries and more.

There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.


Images: Adobe Stock

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