Millennial Money Goes Furthest in These Cities

St. Louis and Austin come out on top for relative spending power, according to a new study by JLL that looks at incomes for young workers across nearly 50 cities.
Image and data courtesy of JLL

Brooklyn has its hipster charms and Silicon Valley and Seattle continue to draw top tech talent, but Millennials looking to boost their spending power should head inland, a new study by JLL suggests.


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The report by the brokerage surveys nearly 50 of the largest metro areas in the U.S to compare household incomes of working Millennials in the various markets when adjusted for cost of living. The analysis finds that some of the most attractive cities in terms of spending power are located in Texas, with Austin coming in second place nationwide after St. Louis, and Houston ranking 10th.

“Millennials in Houston are drawn to our urban core,” commented Chis Bergmann Jr., vice president at JLL, to Multi-Housing News. “Unlike many other cities, our low cost of living means that sought-after inner-loop neighborhoods are both affordable and appealing to young professionals.”

Getting more bang for their buck

The study looks at the average millennial household income in each city—defining Millennials as people between 25 and 34—and adjusts that figure for the local cost of living. In San Francisco, for example, the average millennial income is $129,300, but $63,700 is lopped off that number in view of the city’s astronomical costs, to generate an adjusted income of just $65,600. This, in turn, is compared to the nationwide average, leading to the grim conclusion that Millennials workers in San Francisco have $13,700 less spending power than their peers across the country.

Millennials in St. Louis come out on top with a $11,200 spending power advantage over the average, following by Austin with a $9,400 edge. Raleigh-Durham, N.C., residents enjoy an $8,700 advantage, followed by Minneapolis and Richmond, Va., at $7,200 each. The number is $3,600 and $1,000, respectively, in Houston and San Antonio, Texas. The biggest losers in the cost-of-living game are, unsurprisingly, pricey coastal hubs like Los Angeles, New York-New Jersey, and Miami-Ft. Lauderdale.

The JLL study builds on a recent analysis of 2017 Census Bureau data, which found that Dallas added more Millennials to its population than any other city in the U.S. Other prime magnets for Millennials included Seattle, Portland, Ore., Columbia, S.C., and Norfolk, Va., according to the study by personal finance website SmartAsset.