The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Where have millennials gone?

Ed Bornstein/The Daily Iowan A growing Iowa City skyline stands against a muggy afternoon sky on Monday, July 17, 2006. A story released Monday in Money Magazine ranked the city No. 74 on its “Best Places to Live” list out of an original pool of nearly 750.


A recent map from Consumer Affairs shows the percentage of millennials living in Iowa City has decreased by more than 5 percent since the 2000 U.S. Census, but this may not reflect the actual population.

Ryan Daly, a content manager with Consumer Affairs, said it is important to remember the map measures where millennials are currently living versus where Generation X was living at the same age. Generation X is the generation born after the post-World War II baby boom.

He said there are a few different things driving millennials to smaller cities with populations between 100,000 up to 600,000.

“Millennials are going where jobs are and where the cost of living isn’t so high where they would need five roommates to make the rent,” he said. “Rent and mortgage rates in bigger cities basically make it impossible to live on a starter salary.”

However, Gary Krob, an analyst at the State Data Center, said it’s nothing out of the ordinary to see younger people migrate in and out of the state, and Iowa City’s millennial population has actually been steadily increasing.

“I’m not looking at this map and thinking Iowa City is seeing a decline in the millennial population,” he said. “It’s actually a slow steady increase staying generally around 30,000. That age group is not decreasing, it’s been increasing in the last three decades.”

“Iowa City isn’t losing millennial population,” he said. “It may just be gaining more rapidly in other areas.”

Daly said millennials are more likely to live in different areas than those of the previous generation.

“The millennials have or are graduating and went job hunting and ended up in these smaller cities,” he said. “Coastal areas also offer amenities that appeal to younger crowds.”

Smaller cities are going out of their way to cater to younger crowds, Daly said.

Iowa City City Councilor Kingsley Botchway said Iowa City has to remain innovative to maintain and even increase the younger population.

“It goes on beyond how we view ourselves as progressive,” he said. “Advancing social justice and racial equity is a huge piece as well as being one of the top cities in the state for environmental sustainability. We want to bring Uber here, and we’re kind of late on that, but it’s good to be a part of.”

Daly said the first thing cities should do to attract more millennials is to provide affordable housing. And Botchway said affordable housing is a topic that has been on top of the City Council’s agenda.

“We’re having ongoing conversations with the county; we’re doing different things,” he said. “We talked about what we could do to help small businesses. I can’t say there’s one thing that’s going to work, but we’re keeping the train moving and adding different pieces to remain relevant.”

Botchway said the city needs millennials to stay in the city and be part of the Iowa City community.

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About the Contributor
Gage Miskimen, Editor in Chief
Email: [email protected] Twitter: gagemisky Gage Miskimen is the current Editor in Chief at The Daily Iowan. He has worked at the DI all four years of his college career, starting out as a news reporter covering city council and Johnson County supervisors. He founded DI Films his sophomore year, bringing back the DI's video section with a documentary approach. During his junior year, he served as the creative director.