Hatching Future Hipsters: Millennials A Tough Act to Follow

U.S. metros vie for a smaller youth population; will millennials ever marry and have kids?

The post-millennial generation — the nation’s youngest — is smaller than its predecessor, leaving most of the nation’s large metros with a shrinking population under age 20. The Bay Area’s youngest cohort is growing but not fast.

By Sharon Simonson

SanFranMillennials_b

San Francisco Gay Pride Parade, June 2014. The millennial generation, those born between about 1982 and 2000, is as large or larger than the baby boomer generation, those born from 1946 to 1964. But the millennials have put off marriage and kids and have not spawned another large generation of children — at least not yet. (Flickr photo courtesy Micadew)

The post-millennial generation is less numerous than the millennials. Even with immigration, in coming years, U.S. metropolitan areas will share a smaller youth-pie, according to research by demographer William Frey of the Brookings Institute: “There are places that will have growth in younger populations, but they will be not the norm,” Frey said.

Fifty-nine of the country’s100 largest metropolitan areas saw a shrinking number of children from 2010 to 2014. The Los Angeles metro saw its under-20 population shrink by 150,000, the nation’s biggest decline, according to Frey’s analysis of June 25 Census Bureau estimates. Chicago, New York, Detroit, Philadelphia and Riverside, the next five biggest losers in descending order, saw their populations of youngsters drop by 76,000 to 37,000 in the four-year window.

Houston (up 97,000) and Dallas (up 80,000), on the other hand, were the biggest gainers. San Francisco-Oakland (up 10,000) and San Jose (up 7,600) held their own, but not nearly so well as tech rivals Seattle (up 19,000), Denver (up 21,000) and Austin (up 37,000).

Large declines in the number of non-Hispanic white young people account for the bulk of the decline in the number of people in the under-age-20 cohort, Frey said. In places where other groups, including Hispanics, Asians and Pacific Islanders are seeing increases in their youth populations, in essence making up for the white population loss, the under-20 cohort is growing larger or shrinking less slowly. Non-Hispanic whites as a group are older than the country’s minority populations, and fewer white women are of childbearing age relative to Hispanic, Asian and other groups. That dichotomy is being manifested in the nation’s youngest generation.

The data presage the composition of the nation’s and each metro’s labor force and consumer pool, Frey said. Across the board, the suburbs — traditionally the American family-rearing location of choice — could be affected most. Not only are there fewer families with kids, but those families may have a more difficult time than previous generations securing the mortgage debt to buy a home.

The Los Angeles metropolitan area probably can withstand even such a large numeric loss of youth, Frey said. Its economy is diverse, and it remains an attractive immigrant gateway. A city in the Midwest where population loss is already an issue might be less resilient.

What happens in the next 10 years is unpredictable. The U.S. population has grown in waves starting with the 80 million or so boomers born after the Second World War. The boomers gave rise to the millennials, another generation of about 80 million born from about 1982 to 2000, though about 15 percent of millennials, or 11 million people, are immigrants. The millennials — only about a fifth of whom are married with children — may start to form families in coming years, creating the next big population wave, or not. 

Change in Population, Under Age 20, Largest U.S. metros, 2010 – 2014

Under age 20: Total numeric change
Total Whites Minorities
1 Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land, TX 96,758 5,596 91,162
2 Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 80,164 (11,081) 91,245
3 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 69,817 2,324 67,493
4 Austin-Round Rock, TX 37,161 9,448 27,713
5 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA 30,875 (14,658) 45,533
6 San Antonio-New Braunfels, TX 26,128 4,031 22,097
7 Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO 20,786 4,201 16,585
8 Raleigh, NC 19,301 5,070 14,231
9 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA 19,295 (14,988) 34,283
10 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC 18,836 (3,920) 22,756
11 Oklahoma City, OK 17,549 2,707 14,842
12 Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 16,375 3,091 13,284
13 Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 14,188 (10,899) 25,087
14 Provo-Orem, UT 12,557 8,112 4,445
15 McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX 10,982 8 10,974
16 Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 10,248 (15,013) 25,261
17 San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA 10,134 (5,853) 15,987
18 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 9,180 (16,948) 26,128
19 Des Moines-West Des Moines, IA 9,064 3,431 5,633
20 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA 7,621 (5,041) 12,662
21 Salt Lake City, UT 7,485 (965) 8,450
22 Columbus, OH 6,874 (7,464) 14,338
23 Charleston-North Charleston, SC 6,829 4,931 1,898
24 Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI 6,523 (15,936) 22,459
25 Omaha-Council Bluffs, NE-IA 6,334 (250) 6,584
26 Cape Coral-Fort Myers, FL 5,471 (1,207) 6,678
27 Ogden-Clearfield, UT 4,749 1,699 3,050
28 Boise City, ID 4,152 287 3,865
29 Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, IN 3,862 (8,666) 12,528
30 Colorado Springs, CO 3,545 (1,725) 5,270
31 Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR 2,661 (931) 3,592
32 Madison, WI 2,228 (1,052) 3,280
33 Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL 2,018 (17,003) 19,021
34 North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL 1,624 (3,079) 4,703
35 Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL 1,551 (4,002) 5,553
36 Greenville-Anderson-Mauldin, SC 1,221 (3,229) 4,450
37 Tulsa, OK 1,059 (4,098) 5,157
38 Urban Honolulu, HI 1,019 3,150 (2,131)
39 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT 649 (8,343) 8,992
40 Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 296 (12,473) 12,769
41 Bakersfield, CA 292 (5,778) 6,070
42 San Diego-Carlsbad, CA (66) (8,419) 8,353
43 New Orleans-Metairie, LA (337) (3,277) 2,940
44 Jacksonville, FL (450) (5,630) 5,180
45 Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA (731) (11,994) 11,263
46 Columbia, SC (732) (2,024) 1,292
47 Greensboro-High Point, NC (1,510) (5,851) 4,341
48 Kansas City, MO-KS (1,617) (7,509) 5,892
49 Chattanooga, TN-GA (1,666) (3,296) 1,630
50 Harrisburg-Carlisle, PA (1,995) (4,604) 2,609
51 Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH (2,342) (36,318) 33,976
52 Knoxville, TN (2,359) (5,815) 3,456
53 Wichita, KS (2,852) (4,842) 1,990
54 Winston-Salem, NC (3,267) (6,200) 2,933
55 Richmond, VA (3,356) (5,882) 2,526
56 Grand Rapids-Wyoming, MI (3,641) (7,659) 4,018
57 Augusta-Richmond County, GA-SC (3,739) (3,129) (610)
58 Fresno, CA (3,877) (4,359) 482
59 Stockton-Lodi, CA (3,979) (4,706) 727
60 Spokane-Spokane Valley, WA (4,110) (5,762) 1,652
61 Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach, FL (4,171) (5,992) 1,821
62 Baton Rouge, LA (4,189) (3,736) (453)
63 Louisville/Jefferson County, KY-IN (4,427) (8,527) 4,100
64 Jackson, MS (4,819) (1,234) (3,585)
65 Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville, FL (5,387) (7,091) 1,704
66 Birmingham-Hoover, AL (5,632) (6,833) 1,201
67 Springfield, MA (5,699) (8,207) 2,508
68 Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton, PA (6,010) (10,822) 4,812
69 El Paso, TX (6,692) 3,133 (9,825)
70 Tucson, AZ (6,750) (6,795) 45
71 Albany-Schenectady-Troy, NY (7,572) (11,190) 3,618
72 Dayton, OH (8,234) (7,199) (1,035)
73 Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD (8,448) (20,173) 11,725
74 Toledo, OH (8,554) (7,520) (1,034)
75 Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton, PA-NJ (8,812) (13,959) 5,147
76 Syracuse, NY (9,160) (10,605) 1,445
77 Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA (9,401) (10,711) 1,310
78 Albuquerque, NM (10,252) (6,946) (3,306)
79 New Haven-Milford, CT (10,483) (11,713) 1,230
80 Akron, OH (10,503) (11,008) 505
81 Youngstown-Warren-Boardman, OH-PA (10,871) (9,624) (1,247)
82 Worcester, MA-CT (10,884) (15,621) 4,737
83 Cincinnati, OH-KY-IN (11,062) (18,280) 7,218
84 Milwaukee-Waukesha-West Allis, WI (12,983) (10,822) (2,161)
85 Hartford-West Hartford-East Hartford, CT (13,059) (16,776) 3,717
86 Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA (13,215) (16,711) 3,496
87 Memphis, TN-MS-AR (13,243) (8,162) (5,081)
88 Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC (13,476) (9,186) (4,290)
89 Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, NY (14,728) (16,008) 1,280
90 Rochester, NY (15,939) (16,371) 432
91 Providence-Warwick, RI-MA (19,292) (25,618) 6,326
92 Pittsburgh, PA (24,558) (27,601) 3,043
93 Cleveland-Elyria, OH (32,392) (25,503) (6,889)
94 St. Louis, MO-IL (34,145) (24,937) (9,208)
95 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA (36,974) (33,425) (3,549)
96 Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (53,732) (60,477) 6,745
97 Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, MI (74,879) (50,967) (23,912)
98 New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (76,440) (122,972) 46,532
99 Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (119,584) (76,264) (43,320)
100 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA (149,660) (59,008) (90,652)


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