The Surprising City with a Big Millennial Population

When people talk about the migration patterns of millennials, the conversation usually centers on the biggest urban areas, New York and Los Angeles, or hipster approved cities like Seattle and Austin. But the city with the largest proportion of millennials rarely appears on these lists. It's Salt Lake City, Utah. Surprising, huh? It shouldn't be. With a strong job market, affordable housing and beautiful natural scenery, it's a wonder everyone hasn't moved to Salt Lake.

Utah Millennials by the Numbers

Utah has the second youngest median age of any state in the country and Salt Lake City has the highest percentage of millennials nationwide. 15.8% of Salt Lake City's population falls between the ages of 25 and 34, nearly 3% higher than the national average of 12%.

Many people are drawn to Salt Lake City for its thriving economy. As of July 2017, it has the sixth lowest unemployment rate in the country, with only 3.4% of the population out of work, in comparison to 4.3% nationwide. A strong job market paired with affordable housing options has made Salt Lake City an appealing destination for young Americans.

Utah has reported the second fastest rate of economic growth nationwide. Downtown Salt Lake City is quickly erecting new office buildings to support the rapidly growing job market. The city hosts the second largest Goldman Sachs office in America, and also boasts an impressive tech scene. Locals have nicknamed the tech bubble of nearby Provo as "Silicon Slopes" in response to the large number of start-ups and technology companies setting up shop there.

A City of Splendor

Salt Lake City is naturally gorgeous. Built along the edge of an enormous sparkling blue lake, the city is surrounded by rugged snow capped mountains. Many people move to Utah for the natural splendor. Outdoor types relish the amazing hiking and camping just outside the city. Bryce Canyon National Park to the south and Arches National Park, only three and a half hours east of Salt Lake City, make easy weekend destinations.

Utah is also a haven for ski bums. Skiers and snowboarders flock to Utah's legendary ski resorts: Alta, Brighton, Snowbird, and Solitude. Home of the 2002 Winter Olympics, Salt Lake City has some of the best wintertime recreation in the country.

Besides its natural splendor, Salt Lake City has a respectable cultural scene. Their ballet company, Ballet West, is one of the most highly regarded dance institutions in America. The Capitol Theater hosts symphony performances and traveling Broadway musicals. The city's culinary scene has also received national attention, with many of their top restaurants featured on notable Food Network shows.

But locals will tell you the best part is the people. Salt Lake City is known for it's incredibly friendly, courteous population. Those moving to the city will be greeted with open arms by locals eager to show them around.

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The Demographics Behind the Trends

Some of these statistics can be explained by demographics. Utah is known for its large Mormon population, and Brigham Young University, the premier Mormon college, is located 40 miles south in Provo, drawing young people to the area. Many BYU students decide to settle in Salt Lake City after graduation, increasing the city's population of millennials.

On average, Mormons tend to marry and have children at an age younger than the national average. After marriage and children, purchasing a home is the logical next step for many such couples. It makes sense that Salt Lake City, a metro area with a large number of young, married millennial couples would have a noticeably higher number of millennial homeowners.

Accessible Housing Options

Salt Lake City has seen increases in rental prices in recent years, but the inflation has been much more subdued than in other cities. As of July 2017, the average rental price in Salt Lake is $1150, up more than $300 from January of 2011, when the average monthly rent was $819. Today, rent for a studio apartment averages $827, a one bedroom for $946, a two bedroom for $1157, and a three bedroom apartment for $1425 per month.

In Salt Lake City, lower house prices make homeownership a more appealing option than renting. According to the US Census, renters in Utah spend 35 percent of their income on housing, in comparison to homeowners in Utah, who put about 23 percent of their monthly income towards their mortgage.

About 41 percent of Utah millennial households own their own home, as opposed to 30 percent of millennials nationally.

With stunning vistas, a thriving job market, and affordable housing options, Salt Lake City is an appealing choice for many young Americans to settle. Check out rental options in Salt Lake City to see if you may want to call Utah home as well.

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