Bloomberg.com chart using data from US Census, Zillow.com and Bankrate.com

Millennial 'downshifters'

The movement of millennials toward major city centers has been well reported—but many are locating in smaller, second- and third-tier cities, as noted by Gizmodo. The reason is economics. As the graph shows, some major cities have an affordability gap relative to the earnings of the "typical millennial."

The biggest gaps are in California cities like San Francisco and San Jose—but Seattle, New York, Boston, DC, and Miami show smaller gaps.

Millennials looking for alternatives are dubbed "downshifters" by Christopher "Kip" Bergstrom, former deputy director of economic development in Connecticut. According to Gizmodo, These places still have the qualities of downtowns—dense housing, transit connections, walkability, good food, great bars—without the high prices. The lure is not just financial—downshifters see an opportunity to be "creators of culture" rather than just "participants," Gizmodo says.