Not All Millennials Dream Of Big City Life

Minneapolis SkylineAs Millennials come of age and graduate from college, they’re making decisions about where they want to live and put down roots. Watching shows like “Girls,” “I Just Want My Pants Back," “Men At Work,” “2 Broke Girls,” and even “Glee,” one would think that all Millennials are clamoring for their chance to make it in New York City. Putting aside the idea that “making it” is really more about simply surviving in the current economy, we had to wonder if most Millennials really are thinking that life in the big city is for them, so we asked nearly 1500 Millennials about where they see themselves living. The breakdown:

  • 41% want to live in a city, the bigger the better;
  • 40% say smaller cities are more their style;
  • 19% prefer small town life.

While slightly more Millennials want to live in a big city, nearly as many think smaller cities are for them. Small cities have been putting in a lot of work to attract young people. There are burgeoning art scenes, green initiatives (including steps to make small cities more walkable and bikeable), revitalizations of downtown areas… In many ways, smaller cities have many of the same attractions as big cities, without the high cost. But also without the name recognition.

There’s still something about telling high school and college friends that you’re living and working in a big city, but slowly, small cities are owning certain niches of cool — music, bike culture, fashion, and more. From Portland to Minneapolis to Detroit (yes, Detroit), creative and innovative young residents are upping their cities’ cool cache, drawing even more hip 20-somethings to move there and even brag about it. What’s more, Millennials have a better chance to get noticed and make their mark in small cities — both in their jobs and in their social sphere —…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

Eighty-one percent of Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily’s Millennial readers say social media is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Bustle’s latest questionnaire also found that 40% of their 18-34-year-old readers prefer Instagram for brand communications, followed by trusted websites, email, and online articles. Some other fun insights: Over half believe that a company should give back, instead of just turning a profit, and 49% think “companies should do more to protect the environment.” (Adweek)

Drug use is down among teens—except when it comes to marijuana and vaping. From the 1990s to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they’d been drunk dropped from 46% and 58%, and those reporting they’ve smoked cigarettes from 26% and 17%. However, marijuana use increased for the first time in seven years in 2017, while vaping is up as well, with at least 19% of high school seniors, 16% of sophomores, and 8% of eighth-graders saying they’ve vaped in the past year. (LATimes)

Two modern dating shows are coming to Facebook Watch. The first “unscripted dating show” from SoulPancake, Love & Longitude, is shot on iPhones and shows two potential love interests’ relationship blossoming across FaceTime, social media, and other digital interactions. The second dating show from Machinima, Co-Op Connection, plays into the esports craze. One bachelor gets to pick his partner based on their personality—and their skills at the videogame, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (tubefiltertubefilter)

Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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