Trends Among Millennials

Trends Among Millennials

I’m fortunate to be a part of a solid initiative called Design Alabama. Every year we participate in a Mayors’ Summit, working with five different cities on their most challenging design problems. We just completed our 2015 Summit.

A few interesting nuggets I learned about Millennials trends (people born 1979 to 1996)

  • 31% of Millennials prefer a “core city” and have a stronger inclination toward urban living.
  • 66% say they seek walkable places and town centers, and 33% are willing to pay a premium to be able to walk to shops and amenities.
  • 50% are willing to give up living space in order to live in a walkable neighborhood.

Millennials value diverse neighborhoods, proximity to jobs and fun, with more emphasis on connectedness and life/work balance than their predecessors.

  • 26% do not have a driver’s license, which I found most interesting. The miles driven by ages 16-34 have dropped 40% per capita in the last 10 years.
  • Bicycle trips in the age group rose 24% in ten years and walking is up 16%.
  • 45% report making a conscious effort to replace driving with alternative forms of transportation.

The past is not always a predictor of the future, and trends are just trends. We only know how things pan out by looking in the rearview mirror. That said, we have a diverse group of projects under contract, and I can definitely see some of these trends with our urban projects.


  1. Jon Barstad says:

    Merrill, I believe this report is ‘spot-on’! As you recall, I too am living in the urban environment. I walk to work, meals downtown and put significantly less miles on my car than before. I’m proof this is the case, but I will say I don’t believe it is just Millennials. It is “the right thing to do.” Given the economics of our world today, I think those who can unload a large house and mortgage payment are doing so to gain back more ‘freedom’ in their lives. I have learned in my life I believe we are blessed with three (3) resources in our life and the question is what are we going to do with them in our lifetime with…time, energy and money. I believe it can simply come down this…to assist on ‘making a good decision’…ask yourself, “will I have a positive gain on one, two or all three resources?” If yes, then its probably a good decision, if not…then you may need review issue more carefully and probably say “no”. I think if people feel freedom in their lives they are more content and joyful, otherwise emotional energy is zapped away, stress exists, chaos is present and opportunities are missed.

    Let me know when you are back in town. Love to break bread with you and we can pick-up this conversation. Thank you.

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