Metro Milwaukee millennials concerned about crime and jobs

Millennials living in the metro Milwaukee area are concerned about crime and economy. But they think highly of the area’s restaurant, shopping, concert and entertainment options. They consider mass transit to be important, but even more area millennials say well-maintained and relatively uncongested roads are important.

Those are some of the results of a survey conducted of area millennials by the Milwaukee-based Public Policy Forum.

“On the surface, the survey found that the preferences and concerns of metro Milwaukee millennials with regard to the region’s livability, attractiveness, and transportation needs are not much different from what might have been expected from the general population,” said Public Policy Forum president Rob Henken.

“Yet, probing more deeply, we also see that characteristics often cited as critical to attracting millennials to our region – such as a variety of cultural and education attractions, a robust parks system, and vibrant concert and music venues – do register high on the list of reasons cited by millennials for their decision to live in metro Milwaukee, Henken said.”

The survey was conducted by the Public Policy Forum in partnership with Brookfield-based The Dieringer Research Group. The project was funded with a grant from Colliers International. The survey was conducted between mid-October and early November. Responses were received from 486 individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 in the four-county (Milwaukee, Waukesha, Ozaukee, Washington) metro area.

“During the past year, policymakers in Greater Milwaukee have debated several major public investments that have been cited as critical to efforts to attract and retain millennials,” said Henken. “Our objective was to add some non-anecdotal context to those discussions.”

Crime and the economy are the factors most commonly cited by metro Milwaukee millennials as important in determining where to live. When asked to assess the importance of various factors in determining where to live generally, 86 percent of metro Milwaukee millennials cited the crime rate as important and 81 percent cited the strength of the economy/jobs as important.

Metro Milwaukee millennials give generally high rankings to the region’s cultural and entertainment offerings. Roughly two thirds (68%) of Metro Milwaukee millenials say cultural and education attractions are important to their decision to live in Metro Milwaukee, while 63% cite the importance of concert/music venues. When asked what they like most about the City of Milwaukee, 40% of respondents cited the variety

Many Metro Milwaukee millennials value transit, biking, and walking, but higher percentages place importance on good roads and highways. When we asked respondents to assess the importance of various transportation services, well-maintained local roads and streets (80 percent), well-maintained highways (79 percent), relatively uncongested highways (74 percent), and relatively uncongested local roads (73 percent) were cited as important by the majority of respondents. Pedestrian-friendly streets (69 percent), effective mass transit (56 percent), and bicycle-friendly streets (46 percent) were cited as important by somewhat smaller percentages.

“While this survey reveals several important insights into the views of metro Milwaukee millennials, it is important to note its limitations,” says Henken. “For example, because we only surveyed millennials who currently live in the metro area, the results may not hold much relevance in determining specific policy actions to attract millennials from outside the region. Nevertheless, we hope that the survey results will provide valuable context for policymakers and community leaders who are working to define a vision for metro Milwaukee that will be attractive to younger generations and help us to secure the talent we need to grow a 21st century knowledge economy.”

Read the full survey results here.

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Andrew is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, he is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, their son, Zach, and their dog, Hokey. He is an avid sports fan and is a member of the Muskego Athletic Association board of directors.

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