South Florida's Millennial Population Continues to Flee

South Florida's Millennial Population Continues to Flee
Photo by James Livingston's Flickr via MNT Flickr Group

South Florida, and Miami in particular, has worked hard to shed its image as America's (or at least New York's) retirement home. Nope, this is no longer supposed to be the land of bubbes suntanning in bathing caps and old men hitting up the golf course. This is supposed to be a fun, young, vibrant city with things like tech startups, art walks, and funky boutiques. 

However, the reality is that since 2000, South Florida's retirement community has only continued to grow. Meanwhile, the millennial population has continued to shrink. 

According to a Consumer Affairs map of moving trends, millennials made up 21.4 percent of South Florida's population in 2000. Sure, most of them were in school at that time, but they lived here. Now that they're all grown up and the biggest demographic in America's workforce, they've decided to flee. 

In 2014, only 19.9 percent of the area's population consisted of millennials. 

Consumer Reports says the general trend is that millennials are shunning major metro areas and seeking smaller cities instead. Other big cities, like San Francisco, Chicago, and Portland, Oregon, have also seen their millennial populations shrink. 

Perhaps it's not a surprise in Miami, though. The millennial population has continued to shrink over the past few years even though the total population is still growing. Last year, a study found that Miami was the most expensive market in the nation for millennials to rent. Conversely, Miami also leads the country in millennials who still live at home with a parent

The picture these studies paint is one where it's difficult for millennials to start their own independent lives in Miami. The city's average income still lags behind most other major metro areas, yet rents continue to soar into the stratosphere thanks to a real-estate market driven not by the needs of locals but by those of wealthy overseas investors. 

No wonder young people are fleeing. 

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Conversely, Tampa, Orlando, and Jacksonville have all seen modest gains in their millennial populations since 2000. Even Pensacola and Panama Beach have seen their millennial population grow by more than 1 percent. 

Older folks, however, are still in love with South Florida. 

In 2005, 15.5 percent of South Florida's population were retirees. That number in 2014 was 16.8, a 1.3-point increase.

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