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The Millennial Dream

This evening I was interviewed for a documentary called The Millennial Dream. It’s all about how Millennials – people like me – are rethinking or even rejecting some of the traditional notions of The American Dream. It’s being produced by Hemmings House.

My part was all about housing. 

So a lot of it was about how housing preferences have (or have not) changed for Millennials. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’d already be familiar with many of the topics I covered.

What’s most interesting to me though, is not what Millennials are doing today. We already know that there’s been a return to cities and that many young people prefer walkable and authentic communities. Everyone is talking about it and it’s no longer novel.

What’s more interesting to me is what Millennials are going to do in the next 10 years when the majority of the cohort is in their 30′s. What percentage will be married? What percentage will have kids? And, where and how will they choose to live in cities?

Because there are some structural changes happening. Marriage rates in the US have been declining since the 1960s (see New York Times).

And fertility rates are at their the lowest in US history. So in theory, and unless things change, Millennials should on average demand different types of housing. Fewer of them are likely to marry and they’re having fewer kids.

But at the same time, I also believe that there have been changes in consumer preference that are not going to completely reverse as Millennials age. So city builders will need to come up with new and creative forms of housing for families who want to stay in urban centers. And that’s an exciting challenge.

I’d be curious to hear thoughts in the comment section below. The documentary won’t be out until the end of the year, so you still have a chance to influence its direction. More voices are better than one.

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