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Urbanism

Maybe Millennials Sort of Like Dallas After All

Another new millennial survey shows that Dallas is general 'meh' to 'okay' in the eyes of America's youth

Last week I dove deep into some data that was used by a personal finance company to argue that Dallas is drawing more millennials than any other major U.S. city. I argued that just because 2017 saw a surge in the number of people between 20 and 34 who moved to Dallas, that was not enough evidence to justify the banner proclamations that appeared in local media (and from the Dallas Regional Chamber) proclaiming Dallas a millennial magnet. To understand if Dallas is competing well in the generational marketplace, we would need a more nuanced study.

Well, here’s that study. The Dallas Business Journal (via WFAA) reported over the weekend on the 2019 U.S. Cities Scorecard for Millennials, a 3,000-person survey that takes the temperature of millennial perceptions of American cities. The survey asked millennials across 22 metro areas to rank cities according to 40 criteria, ranging from cost to climate to transit to taxes. The results offer a take on how a generation perceives American cities.

How do they see Dallas? It’s kind of a mixed bag.

Dallas did not rank first in any of the 40 categories. However, it managed to rank in the top 10 of many of them. In fact, while Dallas is often not millennials’ favorite place for any of the categories, the generation likes it well enough that Dallas ranked third in “Overall Value (Worth Living In),” a category that agglomerated all of the scores. The top two “overall value” cites were Houston and Atlanta, respectively.

What does it mean? Well, it means that Dallas is pretty attractive for a lot of reasons but not very attractive for many. The categories Dallas does well in are the ones you might expect. Millennials perceive that Dallas has good schools, a low cost of living, a positive family environment, and favorable income taxes. Dallas ranks low when it comes to how easy it is to meet people, the overall culture, walkability, access to nature, and the city’s overall physical environment.

My takeaway: put away the press releases proclaiming Dallas as a millennial hot spot and get to work. Improving walkability, access to the Trinity, arts and culture, transit, and the general congeniality of the overall urban environment remain the priorities moving forward if Dallas wishes to remain competitive.

Here’s the DBJ rundown of how Dallas ranked across the 40 categories):

  • Costs: #3 (Houston ranks #1)
  • Benefits: #12 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Salary potential: #4 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #3)
  • Fulfilling jobs: #6 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Jobs in your field: #9 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Presence of well-established companies: #3 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Overall satisfaction with career opportunities: #6 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Easy to meet people: #17 (New York ranks #1; Austin ranks #3)
  • Friendliness of people: #6 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Finding people like you: #14 (New York ranks #1; Austin ranks #3)
  • Crowds: #15 (Miami ranks #1; Houston ranks #3)
  • Overall social environment: #14 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Diversity: #11 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Access to theaters: #10 (New York ranks #1; Austin ranks #2)
  • Universities: #15 (Boston ranks #1; Austin ranks #5)
  • Restaurants: #10 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #4)
  • Sports: #8 (Boston ranks No. 1)
  • Overall culture: #15 (New York ranks #1; Austin ranks #2)
  • Schools: #3 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Family friendliness: #4 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Amenities for children: #6 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Overall family environment: #3 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Parks and green spaces: #12 (Portland ranks #1; Austin ranks #3)
  • Walkability: #21 (New York ranks #1; Austin ranks #10)
  • Aesthetics of the city and cleanliness: #5 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Climate: #11 (Los Angeles ranks #1; Austin ranks #10)
  • Access to nature: #20 (Denver ranks #1; Austin ranks #6)
  • Overall physical environment: #18 (Austin ranks #1)
  • Commute times: #6 (Minneapolis ranks #1)
  • Public transport: #11 (New York ranks #1; Houston ranks #6)
  • Traffic: #5 (Minneapolis ranks #1)
  • Fair property taxes: #5 (Phoenix ranks #1; Houston ranks #3)
  • Fair income taxes: #2 (Houston ranks #1)
  • Fair sales taxes: #6 (Portland ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Other tax: #6 (Miami ranks #1; Austin ranks #2)
  • Overall taxes: #3 (Miami ranks #1; Houston ranks #2)
  • Housing costs: #5 (Houston ranks #1)
  • Cost of everyday living: #5 (Houston ranks #1)
  • Health care cost: #4 (Houston ranks #1)
  • Overall cost of living: #5 (Houston ranks #1)

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