More on Which Age Groups are Moving to Cities

MLewyn's picture

I've already blogged on which age groups are returning to cites- but I recently read something that made me think about the issue a liittle differently.  In past posts, I have noted that city population seems to be increasing among both millenials and 55-64 year olds. Although this is true, it is an after-affect of the nationwide increase in the number of aging baby boomers.

Joel Kotkin (who I have had more than my share of disagreements with) has suggested that baby boomers are actually leaving cities.  His methodology is a bit different than mine was: rather than comparing today's 55-64 year olds with the 55-64 year olds of 2000, he analyzes population by cohort, looking at persons born between 1946 and 1965 (who were 35-54 in 2000 and 45-64 in 2010).  I tried to replicate his data, focusing on population-losing Chicago to start with.

Indeed, the number of boomers decreased by just over 20 percent, from about 763,000 in 2000 to just over 601,000 in 2010.  The number of people in every age group but two decreased.  Persons born after 2000 of course increased (from zero to over 300,000). Also, the number of millenials (persons born between 1976 and 1995) increased from about 865,000 to 931,000. 

I then looked at Philadelphia and Manhattan.  In both places, every age group born after 1975 decreased (though less rapidly than in Chicago).  However, the millenial population increased more rapidly than I expected.  In Manhattan, the number of persons born between 1976 and 1995 increased from about 338,000 to about 560,000, an increase of over 50 percent.   Among older millenials (persons born between 1976 and 1985) population almost doubled, from just over 195,000 to about 341,000.   One might think that Manhattan's high cost of living locked out millenials, but evidently this is not the case.  (In Philadelphia, the millenial "bump" was more modest, from about 453,000 to 511,000).   




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