If you live in Kansas City, you’ve doubtlessly heard breathless paeans to millennials from city leaders and how we must spend public money to attract them. From entertainment districts to apartment buildings, airports to convention hotels, restaurants to streetcars, everything has been sold on the premise that we must cater to the creative class.
Research featured in Business Insider tells us that millennials aren’t much different from their parents’ generation.
“They still want good restaurants, but now it’s also about space, affordability and being able to send their kids to a good public school,” said Paternite, 45, who added that about 70% of her business now comes from young families who are making the move from Brooklyn or Manhattan.
Millennials, typically defined as those born between 1981 and 1997, may be turning into their parents after all. A generation that’s been stereotyped as urban, single, and aghast at the idea of a car-based life in the suburbs is starting to age, prompting fund managers to bet on companies that should benefit if the US birth rate reverses a six-year slump.
Oh, and their supposed desire to get away from cars? Also false:
The generation once seen as shunning cars accounted for 27% of new auto sales in the US last year, up 9 percentage points from 2010, according to a recent study by JD Power and Associates.
The stereotype was probably never true, yet it has driven so much of the policymaking, rhetoric, and spending from City Hall. Readers of this blog see nothing new here. We’ve been debunking the millennial myth here and here and here.
In the meantime, the rest of the city—where people are actually living—has been neglected and left to dry up. Rather than chase mythical populations of the future, we need to fix the real problems that impact the quality of life for millennials—and everyone. This means streets, sewers, schools, crime, and we need to do so efficiently while keeping taxes low.