Millennials Are Still Leaving New Jersey, Study Finds

millenials moving out of new jersey
Photo by Jared Kofsky/Jersey Digs.

New Jersey native Bruce Springsteen once sang that he was Born to Run, and a new report reveals that the Garden State’s millennial population feels at least somewhat the same way when it comes to staying in the state.

A study released this month written by a group of Rutgers University graduate students for New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) shows that while not as great as some have feared, New Jersey still has a net out-migration of Millennials. According to the report, about 6.1 percent of young people who are considered part of the millennial generation left the state in 2016, about on par with the 6.5 percent that departed in 2012 but up from the 4.9 percent that fled in 2004.

In a bit of better news, the report found no statistically significant differences in the rate that Generation X, those born between 1965 and 1980, moved out of state and the rate that Millennials do today. However, the study did reveal a significant difference in Millennial out-migration among college-age adults 18-22 years old. That subgroup leaving the state more than doubled between 2004 and 2016, up to 11.6 percent.

NJPP’s report concluded that the out-migration of young adults in New Jersey is comparable to that of other high-cost states in the Northeast. About seven percent of young adults moved out of Connecticut in 2016, six percent left Massachusetts, and five percent moved out of New York and Pennsylvania. Many young Garden State residents cited the high cost of housing as well as problems with transportation and infrastructure as their biggest gripes about living here.

The Northeast in general fares pretty poorly when it comes to attracting Millennials; data from the census shows New York actually ranking dead last in drawing the generation to live there. States like Washington, Texas, Colorado, and Virginia show the biggest Millennial gains.

A separate study from New Jersey Future released last year caused some alarm about the state’s youngest generation fleeing, which could have a significant impact on the workforce and housing market. Many studies have shown that Millennials, generally defined as people born between the years 1980 and 2000, prefer more urbanized locations with jobs, housing, and amenities all within easy reach, qualities that some of the Garden State’s more suburban locations lack.

The state’s top Millennial destinations won’t come as a surprise to many: Hoboken is the state’s Millennial capital, with 45 percent of the Mile Square City’s population falling fully in the 22-34-year-old age group. Neighboring Jersey City is second, as Millennials make up 28 percent of its population.


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