3 Reasons Millennials Will Stay in Philly

With a few caveats.

Will cities be able to hold onto millennials as they grow up? It’s a big and scary question.

Governing interviewed local officials from five cities that millennials have flocked to in recent years — New York City, Chicago, Charlotte, Seattle and Washington, D.C. — to find out where they think the generation is headed as it grows older.

Though Philadelphia wasn’t one of the studied areas, the article reveals three reasons that millennials may stay in Philly (with some caveats):

  • “One advantage Chicago has working in its favor: Housing costs aren’t as high as in some of the nation’s other hot cities. So when millennials desire a larger living space, remaining in the city might be a more plausible option for them than in costlier places,” writes Governing‘s Mike Maciag. Philadelphia’s housing costs are also low, which will enable some millennials to stay put as they start having children. But not all. Philly is the poorest big city in the country, and that means that even though its housing is cheap, lots of residents (millennials no doubt included) still can’t afford it.
  • New York City has a massive housing affordability problem. But officials there believe that one thing will work to their favor in spite of this — the fact that the area’s suburbs have such high property taxes. City planning expert Joseph Salvo “suspects some millennials will decide that those taxes aren’t worth the tradeoff of the additional space, and they’ll stay put in the urban core,” Governing writes. Likewise, property taxes in many of Philly’s ‘burbs are high, which may keep millennials from leaving the city for nearby towns. A Pew report also found in 2012 that Philadelphia’s overall residential tax burden was becoming more competitive as compared to the suburbs (though this could have changed since the city overhauled its property assessment system).
  • Philadelphia’s seemingly never-ending school funding crisis will surely push some young millennials out of the city. But Washington, D.C. is trying to keep young families there by expanding its pre-K program, and if Philly can pull this off, that could help it retain millennials. Expanding pre-K is one of Democratic mayoral candidate Jim Kenney‘s major campaign promises; plus, a commission in Philly was just created to look into funding universal pre-K.

Citified reported previously that the number of 18- to 34-year-olds moving into Philadelphia “from other counties … grew by seven percent between 2010 and 2012, compared to the three years prior.”