• In a Urban Land Institute survey of Millennials, that age group was found to be likely to stay in The District and its five suburbs that are located inside the Beltway.
  • Among owners, 59 percent believe that homes are good long-term investments.
  • Millennials also own cars, but still frequently use public transportation and walk to get to their destinations.

In a new report on the Millennial generation, young people are choosing Washington, D.C. to live and indicated that they are likely to stay there when they begin families. 

The Spring 2015 Millennial survey, sponsored by the Urban Land Institute’s (ULI) Washington district council, found an upbeat young population remarkably satisfied with housing, neighborhoods and transportation choices in the place that they call home.

The survey and results use the terms “Gen Y” and “Milliennial” interchangeably to indicate the segment of the population who turned between the ages of 20 to 37 in 2015.

And, the survey showed that they are likely to stay in The District and its five suburbs that are located inside the Beltway. An impressive two-thirds of those who are 30 years of age or older think that they’ll still be living inside the Beltway in three years.

Another interesting factoid: half of those surveyed would raise children inside the Beltway (with many already doing so), going against the grain of earlier generations when starting a family meant a move to the suburbs.

Another 30 percent of the respondents said they might consider bringing up baby inside the Beltway. Only 12 percent of the respondents live with children now.

Also, the study says that even those who do choose to raise their children in the leafy suburbs will quickly be replaced by a large influx of immigrants.

But not surprisingly, 58 percent of the renters who participated in the survey said they’d have to move beyond the Beltway to buy housing that they could afford.

Other key findings include:

  • More than two-thirds of respondents living inside the Beltway say that walkability is its best attribute.
  • Ranked second—but 24 percentage points lower— is stability and safety.
  • Among District residents, walkability also ranks first, followed by lively/trendy area; safety and stability ranks third.
  • Among owners, 59 percent believe that homes are good long-term investments.
  • Approximately two-thirds of the sample own a car.
  • Even though most own a car, 65 percent of respondents say Metro access is among their top three reasons for selecting or staying in their current location.
  • Nine of 10 Gen Yers feel safe in neighborhood parks, with almost 40 percent saying that parks are an asset they would not want to lose.

The limitation of the survey is that it was what the authors termed as a “survey of the willing,” rather than a representative sampling of Gen Yers living inside the Beltway in urban neighborhoods. The 1,334 completed responses, though, exceed the expectations of the researchers.

Some 693 responses from people born in 1978–1995 and living within specified zip codes inside the Beltway. Another 651 surveys were the result of ULI’s outreach efforts through social media, local blogs, news articles, apartment owners and developers who made tenants aware of the survey, plus younger members of ULI and other land-use groups.

The researchers say that in many respects, this sample mirrors Gen Y across the country. This is true of marital status, racial mix, housing tenure, satisfaction with housing, and frequency of residential moves. But, Washington’s respondents are older and better educated—and therefore have higher incomes compared with national trends, with 84 percent are employed full-time, beating the national number of 62 percent nationally.

Email Kimberley Sirk.

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