Why Are Millennials Fleeing Blue States…

A recent report by HireAHelper, a digital platform for moving services, has shed light on the migration patterns of millennials in 2023, highlighting a preference for states and cities with a red political leaning over those that are blue.

This report, derived from analyzing Census Bureau data, reveals a significant decline in millennial mobility over the last decade, from 21% in 2013 to just under 11% in 2023. This decrease is notably sharper than the overall reduction in movement observed nationally.

The primary motivators for relocation among millennials include economic factors and lifestyle shifts, such as the pursuit of new or improved housing (16%), job changes (13%), the desire to start a household (11%), and the aspiration for homeownership or more affordable living arrangements (each at 9%).

HireAHelper notes that the quest for more affordable housing has reached its peak since 2011, coinciding with rising mortgage rates and rental costs. This economic pressure has steered millennials towards states traditionally identified as red, including Texas, which has seen an influx of approximately 400,000 individuals from this demographic.

Montana emerged as the state with the highest net positive millennial migration, followed by Connecticut and Maine, showcasing diverse geographical preferences. Other states like Oklahoma, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, and Arizona also experienced positive net migration from millennials.

Miranda Marquit, a spokesperson for HireAHelper, suggests that the appeal of these locations lies in their promise of a more relaxed lifestyle while still offering proximity to urban amenities. This balance appears to cater to the varied lifestyle aspirations among millennials, whether they seek the suburban tranquility near cities or the unique living experience offered by places like Montana.

Conversely, states and cities known for their deep blue political leanings, such as New York, California, Massachusetts, and Illinois, have witnessed the highest rates of negative migration among millennials.

At the metropolitan level, Tampa, Florida; Las Vegas, Nevada; and Austin, Texas stand out as prime destinations with positive net migration. In contrast, urban areas like New York City, San Jose, Los Angeles, Detroit, and San Francisco saw more millennials leaving than arriving.

The report also highlights that financial constraints prevented 60% of millennials who wished to relocate in 2023 from doing so. Marquit interprets this trend as partly a reflection of this generation’s life stage transition and the broader economic challenges they face.

Looking forward, while the current economic climate, particularly high interest rates, may deter significant millennial mobility in 2024, there’s an anticipation that many will opt to stay put in hopes of a more favorable housing market.