Though the millennial generation has helped spur the growth of cities across the United States, it appears that the trend is about to reverse in favor of suburbia, in part due to the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC reported.
According to the report, around 43 percent of millennials surveyed claimed they were considering moving to the suburbs or other rural towns and away from urban areas. The survey was conducted between May 22 and May 24, suggesting the effect of the COVID-19 crisis was likely a large factor in the responses.
Similarly, the big businesses that once drew young people to cities are also looking towards the suburbs for new office space. Much of this is because city offices are dependent on crowded elevators and shared spaces — two aspects of their workplace culture that don’t really have a place in a world still grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Is office space going the way of retail in five years? That’s what investors are really trying to understand,” explained James Farrar, CEO of real estate investment trust City Office REIT.
Farrar added that he believed people and business would be moving out of urban areas — at least for the short term.
“I think you will see more and more tenants leave the city,” he said. “There will probably be more satellite offices, where people don’t have to be downtown. There will be more part-time working from home.”
Already, major companies headquartered in large cities have told their employees to expect to work from home for the next few months, no matter what happens with the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, Google and Facebook said that workers can continue to telecommute through the end of the year. Twitter has declared that employees could officially begin working from home “forever.”
Moreover, even before the pandemic took hold, experts were beginning to note that many in the millennial generation were moving out of urban areas due to the combination of rising rent prices, school options for children, and student loan debt.
In fact, Axios even called the trend “hipsturbia,” as many young adults were putting a millennial spin on the suburbs. In September, the news website noted that suburbs with good jobs that were located in easy distance of larger metro areas were growing twice as fast as the cities themselves.
However, the fact that close to a half of millennials are now considering moving from cities is a major shift and could herald a huge change in the cultural landscape of the country.
The possibility of millennial flight is just one of the many woes facing cities this week, as racial justice protests continue to turn violent. Some states have even resorted to calling in the National Guard, as was previously reported by The Inquisitr.