Putting down roots
This Texas city is the No. 1 destination for Austin millennials on the move
For the most part, Austin millennials have stayed close to home after entering adulthood, a new report indicates.
At age 26, nearly 70 percent of people who were born from 1984 to 1992 and raised in Austin remained here, according to the report. That leaves more than 30 percent who moved elsewhere.
Data compiled by researchers at Harvard University and the U.S. Census Bureau pinpoints Houston as the No. 1 target for millennials who lived in Austin at age 16 and grew up here but lived somewhere else in the U.S. at age 26. Houston attracted 3.9 percent of millennial movers born from 1984 to 1992 (a large subset of the millennial generation) who grew up in Austin.
Bayou City was followed by San Antonio (3.1 percent), Dallas (2.8 percent), Killeen (1.3 percent), and Fort Worth (1.2 percent). These were the only Texas cities to surpass the 1 percent mark for the share of millennials born from 1984 to 1992 who had moved away from Austin. In 2022, these millennials are celebrating birthdays from 30 to 38.
These are the top five out-of-state destinations for Austin-raised, on-the-move millennials:
- Los Angeles — 0.86 percent
- New York City — 0.79 percent
- Denver — 0.64 percent
- Seattle — 0.50 percent
- Washington, D.C. — 0.43 percent
The list of Texas places that sent millennials to Austin looks very similar to the list of places that gained millennials from Austin. The top five are Houston (6.7 percent of movers born from 1984 to 1992 who came to Austin), Dallas and San Antonio (3.7 percent each), Fort Worth (2 percent), and Brownsville (1.6 percent).
Los Angeles is the only out-of-state destination that broke the 1 percent barrier for millennials who relocated to Austin (1.6 percent), followed by Chicago (0.97 percent), Washington, D.C. (0.63 percent), Detroit (0.51 percent), and Boston and New York City (0.49 percent each).
The geographic regions cited in the report are not metro areas but, instead, are commuting zones. A commuting zone represents a collection of counties that define an area’s labor market.
Researchers relied on federal tax, population, and housing data to assemble the report.
The statistics for Austin largely align with nationwide trends. The researchers say 80 percent of young-adult movers in the U.S. had relocated less than 100 miles from where they grew up and 90 percent had moved less than 500 miles.
“The majority of young adults stay close to home,” the researchers explain. “Average migration distances are shorter for Black and Hispanic young adults than for White and Asian young adults. Average migration distances are also shorter for those with lower levels of parental income.”
“For many individuals,” the researchers conclude, “the ‘radius of economic opportunity’ is quite narrow.”