Report: Milwaukee ranks among last in nation for millennial population growth

Metro area has lowest college degree attainment rate among black millennials

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 09:07 am

When it comes to population growth of millennial residents, it’s slow going for the metro Milwaukee area, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.

The area ranks seventh lowest in the nation for population growth among young adults, aged 18-34, from 2010 and 2015, the report said.

Drawing from U.S. Census Bureau data, the analysis examined where millennials – defined as those born between 1981 and 1997 – are settling in the U.S., as well as their educational attainment and racial diversity.

The only metro areas to see lower growth rates than Milwaukee’s 1.4 percent millennial population growth rate were Birmingham, Alabama which saw a loss of 0.6 percent; Chicago, with a 0.2 percent growth rate; Toledo, Ohio (0.5 percent); St. Louis (0.9 percent); Youngstown, Ohio (1 percent); and Jackson, Mississippi (1.2 percent).

Nationally, the young adult population grew by 4.7 percent from 2010 to 2015, a figure that represents gains from immigration and the aging of younger millennials into the age bracket.

Millennials make up nearly a quarter of the total U.S. population, 30 percent of the voting-age population and nearly two-fifths of the working-age population.

Wisconsin is currently making efforts to recruit more young people, including the recent launch of a Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. marketing campaign in Chicago to that end.

The southern and western regions of the country are attracting young people at higher rates, the report showed. Metros with the highest millennial growth rates include: Colorado Springs (14.7 percent); San Antonio (14.4 percent); Denver (12.8 percent); Orlando (12.7 percent); Honolulu (12.2 percent); Austin (11.8 percent); Cape Coral, Florida (11.7 percent); Sarasota, Florida (11.1 percent); Seattle (10.8 percent).

The report also found Milwaukee comes in last in the nation for the percentage of black college graduates among those aged 25-34. Milwaukee’s rate of black college graduates in that age group was 6.4 percent, according to the study.

Joining Milwaukee at the bottom of that list were Akron, Ohio (8.7 percent); Toledo (9.3 percent); Las Vegas (11.2 percent); Sacramento (11.4 percent); Riverside, California (11.5 percent); Rochester, New York (11.8 percent).

Madison tied with Boston for having the highest educational attainment among older millennials. In both cities, 58 percent of 25- to 34-year-old residents have at least a college degree. Among white residents in Madison, that figure was 63.8 percent.

Milwaukee, meanwhile, is among the metro areas with the lowest poverty rates among older white millennials, at 6.3 percent. Minneapolis-St. Paul topped that list, with a 5.9 percent poverty rate among white older millennials; followed by Bridgeport (6.1 percent); Allentown (6.1 percent); Milwaukee (6.3 percent); San Jose (6.4 percent); Ogden, Utah (6.7 percent); and Hartford (7.1 percent).

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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