Choosing where to live is never an easy decision, especially for parents or parents-to-be. After all, there are certainly benefits to rural, suburban and urban life. However, one trend has become apparent over the past few years—urban living is VERY attractive to younger, millennial parents.
There are many reasons why today’s parents are moving their families to big cities and urban areas, here are seven of the biggest.
#1: More Job Options
Nearly every industry offers more jobs in city centers than in outside areas. However, the biggest indicator of job opportunities is found by reviewing growth. For years, job growth was larger in suburban and metro areas than in the cities themselves. However, as cities are undergoing revitalization the jobs are following. From 2002 – 2007, job growth in city centers was at .1%; that number increased .5% in the years 2007 – 2011. And the job growth in urban areas is continuing.
#2. Proximity to Everything
Living in the city means that your favorite restaurant, coffee shop, health foods store and even your job is closer than ever. Millennials who have grown up in sprawling suburbs are impressed by how convenient everything is to their apartment or home. A car may not be necessary, as walking is often possible and mass transit is usually available too.
#3. Eco-Friendly Living
Millennials are more concerned about the environment than their parents' generation. Urban living offers many opportunities for a more sustainable way of life, compared to living in the suburbs.
The lack of need for a car is only one reason why cities can be more eco-friendly. Because of the sheer amount of trash that a city can generate, there are often recycling opportunities available that aren’t as prevalent in outlying areas. In addition, there may be opportunities for those interested in gardening as urban green space and community gardens become more and more popular.
Big cities and urban areas are prioritizing sustainability, and this is very appealing to millennial parents who want to live -- and raise their families -- in a more eco-friendly way.
#4. Educational Opportunities
For many years, the suburbs were usually the place to turn for the best schools. However, this is changing. Larger cities are realizing the need for excellent schools so they can compete with the suburban communities.
For students, this competition is a great thing. In addition to excellent traditional schools, there are often charter or magnet school opportunities available. In a 2015 CREDO urban charter school study report, urban charter schools provided significantly higher levels of annual growth in math and reading compared to students at charter schools in non-urban areas. This equated to urban charter students receiving the equivalent of roughly 40 days of additional learning per year in math and 28 additional days of learning per year in reading.
#5. Culture and Entertainment
If you love music, sporting events, plays, and museums, you'll probably feel right at home in a big city. The sheer amount of culture and entertainment opportunities in a big city or urban area can almost be overwhelming. And these cultural and entertainment amenities are usually easily accessible by bike or public transit.
#6. Cities are the Safest Place to Live
Driving for miles in one direction to visit a primary care doctor and miles in the other to see a specialist is a regular occurrence for suburbanites. On the other hand, living in the city means that needed medical care is often just minutes away. This is one of the reasons why cities are the safest place to live, according to a study published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine, which found that large cities in the U.S. are significantly safer than rural areas.
People drive more, longer, and faster in rural areas compared to cities, and, unfortunately, drive more under the influence. Motor vehicle crashes lead to almost three times as many deaths in rural areas compared to cities, which offer more opportunities to walk, bike, or take public transit.
All of this walking also brings additional health benefits to those who live in urban areas. New Yorkers, who live in the densest urban area in the U.S., live about 2.2 years longer than the national average. Sure, some cities are safer than others and crime rates vary across different urban areas. But living in an urban area could keep your family healthier and safer.
#7. Opportunities to Socialize
In the city, a young family can make social connections that are difficult if not impossible anywhere else. Close proximity to coffee shops, clubs, restaurants, entertainment events, and fitness complexes provide many opportunities to meet new people and socialize with existing friends.
Green spaces, parks, bike trails, and dog parks provide ample opportunities for young parents to take their families out for fresh air activities with friends. Multi-family residents often offer additional opportunities to connect with other families with amenities such as pools, gyms, community dining areas, and rec rooms, as well.
Living in the city is a great option for many young people. With more areas undergoing renewal and renovation, the definition of urban living is changing. Families are finding that urban living brings incredible opportunities that simply can't be found anywhere else.