Business Trends

What Do Millennials Really Want? by The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America

File Type: Free Content, Article
Release Date: May 2014
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Young people networking

Two new studies offer some clues about where and how Millennials (those born between 1977 and 1995) want to live, work and play. According to a new survey by The Rockefeller Foundation and Transportation for America (T4America), a large majority of Americans age 18-34 want access to public transportation and the ability to be less reliant on owning a car.

According to a recent Nielsen report, “Millennials — Breaking the Myths,” they:

  • are more ethnically and racially diverse than any previous generation.
  • have a desire to live in cities which is fueling an urban revolution.
  • define themselves by the technology they use.
  • are more highly concentrated in the western half of the nation.

Four in five Millennials say they want to live in places where they have a variety of options to get to jobs, school or daily needs, according to The Rockefeller Foundation/T4America survey. “Young people are the key to advancing innovation and economic competitiveness in our urban areas, and this survey reinforces that cities that don’t invest in effective transportation options stand to lose out in the long-run,” said Michael Myers, a managing director at The Rockefeller Foundation. “As we move from a car-centric model of mobility to a nation that embraces more equitable and sustainable transportation options, Millennials are leading the way.”

The Nielsen report echoes those findings, noting that “Millennials are fueling an urban revolution looking for the vibrant, creative energy cities that offer a mix of housing, shopping and offices right outside their doorstep. They’re walkers and less interested in the car culture that defined Baby Boomers.”

Sixty-two percent indicate they prefer to live in the type of mixed-use communities typically found in urban centers; they are living in these urban areas at a higher rate than any other generation and 40 percent say they would like to live in an urban area in the future. Thus, for the first time since the 1920s, growth in U.S. cities is outpacing growth outside of them.

As Millennials continue to come of age and control an increasing share of the economy, understanding how their diversity and values play into their lifestyle and purchasing preferences will be essential for commercial real estate developers and investors who, increasingly, will need to appeal to this generation of consumers.