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More young adults moving out of Washington

More young adults moving out of WashingtonWith their lives having been placed on hold for some years because of financial issues, young adults are now starting to make big moves thanks to the fledgling economic recovery. They are moving out of their parents’ homes or college towns and heading out of Washington at the highest rate since the peak of the housing boom.

New data from the US Census revealed a detailed look at migration in the United States, with mobility starting to revive after having sunk to a record new low in 2011.  The most recent numbers show that young adults between the ages of 25 and 29 are the main movers out of state, showing the largest gain in 13 years. They are striking out on their own to try out the job market in high tech, urban places such as Denver, Seattle, Austin and Portland.

By contrast, those groups which had previously demonstrated the most movement during the housing boom of the period from 2000 to 2010 – families, would-be retirees and working professionals – now appear to be locked firmly in the one place, with their migration levels out of state now being stuck at near lows due to shrunken retirement portfolios and underwater mortgages.  These shifts in demographics, which experts believe could continue for several years to come, are once more rejigging the map when it comes to housing.

Enormous mansions located in the sprawling Southwest and far-flung suburbs, which assisted with the rapid drive in metro area growth during the early to mid part of the previous decade in places such as Atlantic, Orlando and Phoenix, are now well and truly out of favor.  In favor now are brand new ‘micro’ apartments of around 300 square feet, which are being considered for wider development in densely populated cities such as Boston, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. These micro apartments are looking to attract single young adults who are eager to find affordable spaces in prime locations that they will be able to call their own.

“Footloose young singles are forming the leading edge of the coming migration wave,” says Brookings Institution demographer William H Fey.  Fey attributes the recent increase in mobility to a pent-up demand amongst young adults who are now willing to “move on a dime” in order to be able to land a job opportunity.  “We will see their migration rates swell even higher if the jobs become more plentiful,” Fey believes.  “Families, older professionals and retirees will be latecomers; they have more financial baggage and will need to make much more careful decisions about when and where to move.”

The gain in mobility is a good sign that the United States economy is starting to get back on track, according to Richard Florida, a professor and American urban theorist at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.  “Young people are moving out of their parents’ basements and sampling places and sampling careers again,” he claims.

Lance Grooms

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