Better schools, more jobs would keep economic boon of millennials in Philly

Temple University students are shown at a May 2012 graduation ceremony. Pennsylvania college students graduate owing an average of $36,193.(Nathaniel Hamilton/for WHYY)

Temple University students are shown at a May 2012 graduation ceremony. Pennsylvania college students graduate owing an average of $36,193.(Nathaniel Hamilton/for WHYY)

A new study shows that Philadelphia has become a bit of a hot spot for millenials, “but that many of them don’t plan on staying for long.”

Between 2006 and 2012, the city gained 100,000 millennials, adults between the ages of 20 and 34, according to “Millennials in Philadelphia: A Promising but Fragile Boom,” the report released Wednesday by the Philadelphia research initiative of the Pew Charitable Trusts. [Read the report below.]

Half of those surveyed, though, said they definitely or probably wouldn’t be living in the city in the next five or 10 years.

About 30 percent of all other adults said the same.

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The local job market and the city’s public schools were big reasons why young adults didn’t see themselves planting roots in Philadelphia.

Only 36 percent of those polled said they would recommend the city as a place to raise kids, while 56 percent said they wouldn’t.

“These results suggest that the millennials’ affection for Philadelphia is conditional,” wrote Larry Eichel, who led the poll.” And for the city, the stakes in meeting those conditions are very high.”

In a phone interview, Eichel added that Philadelphia has a real opportunity to make the young adult boom a boon for the city.

“They represent a chance to keep the city growing and to keep this group of people as they enter both the years where they’re going to have their prime earnings and when people tend to settle down,” said Eichel.

Millennial Ben Stango agreed. The 25-year-old said young adults in the city are a critical part of the city moving forward and becoming a “next generation, world-class type of city.”

“They’re people to a large part who are becoming engaged in their neighborhoods and their community,” said Stango, a board member of Young Involved Philadelphia, an organization that aims to engage young adults.

“They’re not only focused on a job and their friends and their social life, but somehow the job, the friends and the social life tie into the fabric of the city,” he said. That’s an incredible amount of civic capital for Philadelphia.”

The study found that ZIP codes in Manayunk, Center City, University City and Fairmount had the highest percentages of millennials.

More than 40 percent of those living in those ZIP codes were between 20 and 34.

The “northern half” of South Philadelphia, East Falls, Kensington, Fishtown and Roxborough, were also found to be small havens for young adults.

Millennials are “nearly twice as likely as older Philadelphians to have bachelor’s degrees, according to the report. About 40 percent are white. Non-Hispanic blacks make up 42 percent of the population.

The study used a combination of Census data, polling results and focus groups.

The poll questioned more than 500 young adults between 20 and 34 years old.

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Philly Millennials Report Final v2 Web (PDF)

Philly Millennials Report Final v2 Web (Text)

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