New Research Finds Increasing Millennial Migration And Economic Opportunity In The Heartland

Heartland Forward Analyzes Factors Of Top-Performing Heartland Cities For Millennials

Heartland Forward released new research, “Millennials Find New Hope In The Heartland,” analyzing demographic trends in the center of the country. The research, led by Senior Fellow Joel Kotkin, finds the Heartland is attracting and retaining millennials at higher rates than in the past, and three of the nation’s ten best-performing metro areas for millennials are now in the Heartland. Lower costs of living, increased high-tech job growth, and a greater sense of community are among the main factors driving these trends.

“A growing millennial population is key to the Heartland’s economic vibrancy, essentially a make-or-break indicator for its future,” said Ross DeVol, President and CEO of Heartland Forward. “We took an in-depth look at the region to make sure our communities are on a promising path forward, and we hope the report’s insights provide economic developers and policymakers with a blueprint to help communities reach their full economic potential.”

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Heartland Forward’s analysis combines economic and demographic data with personal interviews to assess why millennials are moving to or staying in the Heartland, and which communities offer the most economic opportunity. According to the report’s rankings, AustinRound Rock, TXMidland, TXLake Charles, LANashvilleDavidsonMurfreesboroFranklin, TN; and Fargo, ND-MN are the top five Heartland metropolitan areas for millennials.

Additionally, the report finds that Pecos, TXLewisburg, TNStarkville, MSAthens, OH; and Fairfield, IA are the top five Heartland micropolitan areas for millennials (defined as communities with a population between 10,000 and 50,000).

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“Our findings reveal a different and more positive story for the Heartland than some stereotypes would suggest,” said Kotkin. “Some of the nation’s fastest-growing communities are in the Heartland, and as a whole, the region is now younger than the rest of the country. These are key building blocks for a successful economic future.”

To determine economic vibrancy of these areas, Heartland Forward analyzed five metrics: millennial population growth, millennial population share, millennial education attainment, job growth, and average earnings growth.

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