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What attracts millennials to certain cities?

Skyline of Denver, Colorado

There's a common question being asked by everyone from city planners and real estate agents: What will lure businesses and potential employees - especially young adults - to a particular city?

According to the Denver Business Journal, millennials are looking for environmentally sustainable cities with easy access to housing, public transportation and daily necessities within a three-mile radius of their place of work.

"The reality is that studies show the millennial generation wants to live and work ... within a three-mile radius of an authentic city center," Tami Door, president and CEO at Downtown Denver Partnership, told the Denver Business Journal.

Similarly, a study released in the second quarter of 2014 by The Rockefeller Foundation revealed that four out of five millennials want to live in places where they have a variety of options to get to jobs, school or daily needs.

"It's a conversion from old-school to new-school economic development," Door said. "Build the place, build the transportation, integrate sustainability and you will attract the companies anyway."

It seems like Denver has a pretty good grip on things. Trulia, a real estate information company, listed Denver as the fourth hottest city for millennials to buy and sell real estate. The city consistently attracts young adults because it has a plethora of outdoor activities and nightlife in hip areas throughout its urban areas.

The hottest city for millennials
Denver wasn't the only city in The Centennial State to make the list. Colorado Springs earned the highest marks behind expanding employment opportunities through the defense industry. Colorado Springs is home to two Air Force bases, Fort Carlson and the U.S. Air Force Academy, all of which bring thousands of jobs to the area.

Like Denver, Colorado Springs also entices young adults with a slew of outdoor options such as state parks and nature trails. It's currently the city with the fastest-growing millennial population.
Forbes reported that from 2012 to 2013, Colorado Springs had a 3.2 percent population growth for those falling in the 20 to 34 age bracket. Denver was fifth at 2.5 percent growth during that span. Among the nation's 100 largest metro areas, the overall national population growth for that demographic was was 1.2 percent.

Other cities that are hot with young adults
San Antonio finished second on Trulia's host list behind Colorado Springs. The city was popular among young adults looking to make property investments because it's one of the top places for job growth.

Forbes listed San Antonio No. 11 on its Best Places for Business and Careers list. San Antonio was also among the top 10 cities for job growth potential, a major factor for millennials when deciding where to move.

San Antonio also received high praise from Trulia for its wide range of parks and nightlife. The newly renovated River Walk is stocked with shops, restaurants and bars.

Peabody, Massachusetts, and Honolulu rounded out the top five. Peabody, which is 30 miles outside of Boston and finished fourth on the list, offers millennials the chance to live near a major city without some of the downfalls: traffic, pollution and a high cost of living.

'No rush' to cities
Jed Kolko, chief economist for Trulia, recently stated the a growing number of millennials are moving to the suburbs instead of major cities.

"The differences aren't huge, but there's clearly no mad rush to the cities - despite the shift from homeownership to renting among these young adults," Kolko said.

Kolko pointed to data that revealed less population growth for millennials in major cities between 2012 and 2013. He said dense cities with more than 2,000 households per square mile were passed over for big-city suburbs and lower-density cities with 1,000 to 2,000 households per square mile.

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