Aug 11, 2022 - News

When Phoenix millennials leave, here's where they go

Note: The analysis includes U.S. Social Security Number holders born 1984–1992 measuring their childhood locations at age 16 and young adult locations at age 26; Data: Center for Economic Studies, et al., 2022, "The Radius of Opportunity: Evidence from Migration and Local Labor Markets"; Chart: Skye Witley/Axios

About 76% of people who were born in Phoenix between 1984 and 1992 and raised here stayed in adulthood.

  • Those who did leave tended to stay fairly close to home, with Los Angeles as the top destination.

State of play: Axios Phoenix looked at a Center of Economic Studies analysis of census migration data comparing where Phoenix residents lived at age 16 with where they had moved by 26.

Yes, but: The data measures where millennials moved only up to 2018 and does not reflect moving trends that have occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Details: The average young Phoenix resident who did leave moved to a city 224 miles away, 43 miles farther than the national average.

  • 2.5% moved to Tucson or Flagstaff.
  • Seattle and San Diego were also popular destinations.

Why it matters: The migration patterns of young people can help us understand regional labor markets nationwide, with comings and goings reflecting where opportunity is, according to a July report by the bureau and Harvard University.

The other side: We're getting more young people moving to Phoenix than we're losing.

  • The top out-of-state cities from where young people move to Phoenix were Los Angeles; Gallup, New Mexico; Chicago; Detroit and Las Vegas.

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