Attracting Millennials to Upton

Monday, July 30, 2018

Upton is an inviting and welcoming place. For those of us who call it home, we know why we love it here. Perhaps it is the wide open spaces, crisp, clean air, or that feeling we get when we see a friendly face at the grocery store. We know that we love it but too often there is a belief that other people, especially younger people, just won’t get it. The research is starting to indicate otherwise. It turns out that the younger generation, Millennials, aren’t as tied to the big city as most people think. In fact, many of them are choosing a more rural lifestyle.

There is a lot more to Millennials (people born between 1981 and 1997) than what floats around in popular culture. We know that they can be a vibrant addition to any community and want them here. To attract them, it is important to dig deeper and learn more about what makes Millennials tick. Every week there’s a new ground-shattering revelation about their lifestyle choices —but the most conflicting reports have to do with where they live; and why. As a business or community leader, here is what you need to know.

Many Millennials are moving out of bigger cities.

Interesting data has began presenting itself by way of the 2014 census that is showing trends in Millennial movement. Millennials are in fact moving out of large metropolitan areas, and heading for communities they can make their own. Thanks to this generation’s size and influence, Millennials are moving to new places made just for them, by them—revitalizing smaller cities or opting for hybridized urban-burb enclaves where quality of life is the driving force.

What does this mean for our community? Put simply, there is an opportunity to make Upton more Millennial-friendly. That could involve giving Millennials who are already here, the opportunity to contribute their ideas, talents, and vision to changing how our community and local businesses operate.

What do these communities look like, and how can other communities begin to attract the Millennial workforce?

First off, Millennials are leaving their metropolitan and urban homes due to the high costs of living. Millennials are interested in living within their financial means, even if that requires making lifestyle changes. In doing so, they won’t buy a home or rent without it fitting into their budget. What’s happening with Millennials in cities is really just part of a larger issue involving the rising cost of housing, food and entertainment in already-expensive cities.

Second, Millennials are fascinated with the revitalization of cities and smaller communities. They have a strong drive for a sense of community and culture, and one way to cultivate that for a Millennial driven workforce is to have programs that allow them to be involved. There is an energy around Millennials that come together wanting to be creators and be able to put their stamp on projects or even a community. Having a community that is already underway with restoration projects, support programs, and culture is key for attracting and retaining this workforce.

Lastly, Millennials are beginning to take control of their futures unlike any generation before them. They are the generation that has started more businesses per capita, retain more income in savings, and are continuously shopping at smaller boutique stores and markets as opposed to box stores.

What does this mean for communities?

A community must adhere to the culture that the Millennials are trying to create; this means a host of potentials like Saturday markets, artisan events, a vibrant downtown with restaurants and shopping, as well as items like great schools and community organizations.

Communities looking to attract and retain millennials are in need of three pieces:

  1. Affordable housing selection
  2. Community revitalization efforts
  3. Culture that satisfies their ideals

Millennials are driving change in the suburbs, revitalizing smaller cities, and making their corner of the world a better place. When 79 million Americans want to make their communities even a little bit better, it is a good thing for the country. Attracting them to Upton is a good thing for us. We invite local businesses and organizations to work with the Upton Economic Development Board on creating and implementing strategies for attracting Millennials and helping them to feel like an important part of our community.



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