trcMillennials – 73 million strong between the ages of 18 and 34 – comprise the largest U.S. population group in the last three decades. The U.S. Census Bureau took note. A new edition of their interactive mapping tool, Census Explorer, titled “Young Adults Then and Now,” is chock-full of information about the best places for millennials to relocate if they need a job, want a bigger paycheck, or would like to be surrounded by other young people.

Census Explorer illustrates millennial characteristics across the decades using data from the 1980, 1990 and 2000 censuses and the 2009-2013 American Community Survey. Although millennials are a bigger demographic than Generation Y, they comprise only 23 percent of today’s population (as young adults, baby boomers made up 30 percent of the population in 1980). In addition:

  • Millennials are more likely to be foreign born and speak a language in addition to English at home compared with young adults in 1980.
  • The pay for full-time millennial workers has fallen by 10 percent since 2000.
  • The share of unmarried young adults has grown from 41 percent in 1980 to 66 percent today.
  • One in five millennials (13.5 million people) live in poverty, up from one in seven young adults (8.4 million people) in 1980.
  • 65 percent of millennials are employed, down from 69 percent of young adults in 1980.
  • Nine percent of young people served in the armed services in 1980, compared with 2 percent of millennials.
  • 22 percent of millennials have a college degree, up from 16 percent of young people in 1980.
  • Only about three in 10 millennials have ever been married, down from six in 10 young people in 1980.

Where millennials live

Provo/Orem, UT, is the youngest area in the United States, with 32 percent of the population between 18 and 34. Other favored areas:

  • Millennials make up 28 percent of the population in Santa Maria/Santa Barbara, CA; Lansing/East Lansing, MI; and Austin/Round Rock, TX;
  • Twenty-seven percent of the populations of Durham/Chapel Hill, NC; San Diego/Carlsbad, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; Madison, WI; and Lexington/Fayette, KY, are 18 to 34;
  • In tenth place, with millennials comprising 26 percent of the population, is Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Newport News, VA/NC.

If you’re looking for the largest U.S. metro area for millennials who have never been married, consider Springfield, MA, where 78 percent of residents 18 to 34 have never been married.

  • Number two in this category is Buffalo/Cheektowaga/Niagara Falls, NY, at 75 percent;
  • At 74 percent: New Haven/Milford, CT; Providence/Warwick, RI; Lansing/East Lansing; Philadelphia/Camden/Wilmington, PA/NJ/DE/MD; Boston/Cambridge/Newton, MA; and Syracuse, NY;
  • At 73 percent are two New York regions, Albany/Schenectady/Troy followed by Rochester.

And finally, the regions with the highest share of millennial minorities is led by McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, TX, with 95 percent of the population belonging to a minority group. In El Paso, TX, 86 percent of the 18-34 population belongs to minority group. Other high minority regions:

  • Urban Honolulu, HI, 75 percent;
  • Fresno, CA, 74 percent; Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach, FL and Los Angeles/Long Beach/Anaheim, CA, at 73 percent;
  • San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, CA, at 72 percent;
  • Two more in California, at 71 percent: Stockton/Lodi and Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario;
  • At 69 percent is San Antonio/New Braunfels, TX.

Show them the money

Millennials make the most money in San Jose/Sunnyvale/Santa Clara, with median earnings at $51,149, followed by $47,426 in San Francisco/Oakland/Hayward, CA. Median pay in the next eight regions:

  • $47,380 in Washington/Arlington/Alexandria, DC/VA/MD;
  • $44,548 in Boston/Cambridge/Newton, MA;
  • $42,757 in Bridgeport/Stamford/Norwalk, CT;
  • $42,322 in Hartford/West Hartford/East Hartford, CT;
  • $42,108 in New York/Newark/Jersey City, NY/NJ;
  • $41,807 in Baltimore/Columbia/Towson, MD;
  • $41,1167 in Seattle/Tacoma/Bellevue, WA;
  • And $39,963 in Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, MN/WI.

McAllen/Edinburg/Mission, TX, tops the U.S. regions offering the lowest median earnings – $24,315 – for workers18-34, followed by $27,105 in El Paso, TX. Rounding out the top 10:

  • Lakeland/Winter Haven, FL, at $27,836;
  • Fresno, CA, $30,173;
  • $30,249 in Greensboro/High Point, NC;
  • $30,572 in Bakersfield, CA;
  • Jackson, MS, $30,639;
  • $30,695 in San Antonio/New Braunfels;
  • $30,698 in Orlando/Kissimmee/Sanford, FL;
  • And $30,728 in Miami/Fort Lauderdale/West Palm Beach.

Where the jobs are!

This list is intriguing, since six of the top ten cities where millennials are most likely to have jobs are in the Midwest. Des Moines/West Des Moines, IA, tops the list: 79 percent of millennials are employed. The other nine regions:

  • 76 percent of millennials are working in Omaha/Council Bluffs, NE/IA; Madison, WI; and Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington.
  • In Salt Lake City, UT; Denver/Aurora/Lakewood, CO; and Kansas City, MO/KS, 73 percent of millennials are employed.
  • 71 percent: Milwaukee/Waukesha/West Allis, WI; Ogden/Clearfield, UT; and Washington/Arlington/Alexandria.

Now for the bad news: If you are an employed millennial in Bakersfield, CA, you are one of 55 percent of your age group who is working. El Paso comes in second, where only 56 percent of those 18-34 are employed. The other eight areas to avoid:

  • At 57 percent: Riverside/San Bernardino/Ontario; Fresno; Augusta/Richmond County, GA/SC; and Colorado Springs, CO.
  • Rounding out the list at 58 percent: Modesto, CA; Virginia Beach/Norfolk/Newport News; Stockton/Lodi, CA; and McAllen/Edinburg/Mission.

To drill down even further, check out the interactive Census Explorer.

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