Three-quarters of millennials living in Philly grew up nearby, per a new census study

People with wealthier parents were more likely to leave the Philadelphia region.

Center City skyline, looking east from the Schuylkill

Center City skyline, looking east from the Schuylkill

Mark Henninger / Imagic Digital
lizzymclellanravitch-headshot

The vast majority of Philadelphia’s current 30-somethings have childhood roots in the land of cheesesteaks and wooder ice, a new study found.

Across the U.S., most millennials born between 1984 and 1992 landed in the same metropolitan area as adults that they lived in as children. Published Monday, the study by the U.S. Census Bureau and Harvard University compared people’s place of residence at 16 years old to their home at 26 years old.

Here’s what the study had to say about Philadelphia.

Where did Philly kids end up?

In the Philadelphia area, 77% of people included in the study raised here stayed here. Among the former Philly kids who left, 18% went to other states and nearly 5% went to other parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Those with wealthier parents were more likely to leave Philadelphia. Of people whose parents’ household was in the top 20% income bracket, 69% stayed in the Philly area (nice) and 26% moved to other states. In this bracket, relatively large groups moved to New York and D.C. — 4.4% and 2.8% respectively.

Among millennials in the bottom 20% for parental income, 83% stayed in the Philly region.

Where are current residents from?

Looking at those who currently live in the area, 82% grew up in the Philly region. Nearly 8% came from other parts of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and 10% came from other states.

Millennials who moved to Philadelphia as adults came from a smattering of other regions. Most of them lived on the East Coast. The largest group, 2.4%, are from the Newark, New Jersey, area, and another 1.2% are from New York.

On average, people in this age group who moved to Philadelphia for work came from 74 miles away — that’s less than the national average of 181 miles, suggesting that people who viewed Philadelphia as a destination generally grew up in a nearby city.

How do other cities compare?

Coincidentally, across the state in Pittsburgh, 77% of millennials who grew up there stayed. Looking at other nearby cities, 79% of New Yorkers stayed there and 68% of D.C. kids stayed in that area.

What’s driving movement right now?

Within the past year or so, Philadelphia has been a destination for city dwellers seeking a change, The Inquirer reported, per another recent study.

People who moved to Philly between April 2021 and April 2022 encompassed a strong showing from Manhattan and Brooklyn, as well as several other Pennsylvania and New Jersey counties that border Philadelphia. That report, by data company Placer.ai, used cell phone location data to measure migration.

Part of the preference could be because the cost of rent in Philadelphia has been climbing at a slower rate than in the collar counties. Data released in May found that Philly rent increased 6.4% in the pandemic, while the suburbs saw rent grow twice as fast.

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Tagged

Census, Housing