Millennials Want Mayberry. Surprised?
I don’t like I-told-you-so pieces. They seem so self-serving.
Oh, who am I kidding? I love to be right. In fact, this is one of those I-told-you-so posts
Looks like I was correct in 2016 when I cautioned Virginia Beach officials not to be fooled by the latest ginned-up argument in favor of light rail.
You see, once studies showed that the $100 million-a-mile light rail extension would do nothing to relieve traffic congestion and worse, that the line that was proposed to run from Norfolk to the Cheesecake Factory would carry just a handful of riders, it looked like the pro-light rail crowd had run out of arguments for their boondoggle.
Then a consultant, paid $30,000 by Beach taxpayers, came up with this: Tidewater needed light rail to attract millennials and keep the ones who were still here.
These enlightened hipsters “don’t want to rely on cars,” he said. They wanted to live in urban centers with mass transit. If Virginia Beach didn’t pony up hundreds of millions of dollars for a train, we’d lose all our bright young things.
I wasn’t buying it. Here’s a snippet of my reaction:
“…I hesitate to point this out, but millennials sound exactly like we Baby Boomers did when we were in our 20s. We got out of college, headed to big cities and sneered at our parochial parents driving the family station wagon to the supermarket.
‘I love walking to things,’ we crowed.
Then we got married, had kids, bought minivans and moved to the suburbs where the schools were good.
Has it ever occurred to these researchers that millennials are just ordinary 20- and 30-somethings who will eventually grow up and buy lawn mowers like the rest of us?
What’s really odd is that these ‘experts’ never point to recent findings by the Pew Research Center that showed 26 percent of American millennials were living with their parents in the first third of 2015. These are the famous “boomerang” kids – those who fled home for a while but eventually returned .
Perhaps these millennials love public transportation because their parents won’t let them use the car.”
That generated more than a few indignant letters to the editor.
But look at what I found when I opened the Wall Street Journal yesterday. This: “American Suburbs Swell As a New Generation Escapes the City: Rising urban housing costs have sped an exodus of residents, causing strains in ‘Millennial Mayberry.’
Yep, as predicted, millennials have come to their senses and are now fleeing urban paradises with their children in tow.
“After several years of surging urban growth…suburbs…now account for 14 of the 15 fastest-growing U.S. cities with populations over 50,000, according to the census.
Millennials priced out of popular big cities are flocking to Frisco, Texas, Nolensville, Tenn., Lakewood Ranch, Fla., and Scottdale, Ga.—not exactly household names but among the fastest-growing destinations in the U.S.
“The back-to-the-city trend has reversed,” said William Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution, citing last year’s census data.”
Gee. Is anyone surprised? Glad we didn’t build them that train. Now, if we could just get our $30,000 back.