Monday meeting seeks solution to Fayette out-migration problem

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How do we attract and keep millennials? Fayette County Chamber of Commerce CEO Carlotta Ungaro has thoughts about that, as well as The Citizen’s John Thompson.

Leaders from across Fayette County are set to meet Monday to try and devise a way to stop the hemorrhaging of the millennial population to other areas.

The U.S. Census Bureau defines millennials as the country’s youth born between 1982 and 2000, roughly those people between the ages of 16 and 35. In 2014, an analysis of 1,800 U.S. counties by RealtyTrac.com showed Fayette County as having the nation’s highest rate — 31 percent — of young adults leaving Fayette for greener pastures.

RealtyTrac analyzed census population data between 2007 and 2013 in more than 1,800 counties nationwide to discover which markets are seeing the biggest shifts in the millennial population. The analysis further focused in on the top 10 counties for increases and decreases in millennials.

Fayette led the nation with a 31 percent decrease in millennials from 2007-2013, and in 2013 millennials made up 15 percent of the county’s population. That is nearly the same percentage as those 65 years and older who reside in Fayette County. The difference is that the percentage of millennials is decreasing while the percentage of those 65 and older is increasing dramatically.

Monday’s Fayette Forward, in cooperation with Fayette Visioning, meeting is featuring several discussion items focusing on millennials including planning growth for the group, along with an item on what moves millennials and new generations.

Registration is required to attend the Fayette Forward event. To register, email fayette@fayettevisioning.org. Registrations close on Thursday, March 3.

“The millennial generation is the key to a sustained real estate recovery and boomers who are downsizing are helping open the door for many first time homebuyers while also driving demand for purchases and rentals in the markets where they are moving,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president of RealtyTrac. “Naturally, millennials are attracted to markets with good job prospects and low unemployment, but that tend to have high rental rates and high home price appreciation, while boomers are moving to lower populated areas which have slower home price appreciation.”

Nationally, the areas millennials are moving to the most include metro Washington, D.C. (an 81 percent increase in millennials), metro New Orleans (71 percent increase), Denver (57 percent increase), Montgomery County in Tennessee (41 percent), Hudson County in New Jersey (44 percent), metro New York City (43 percent), Portland, Oregon (41 percent) and Nashville, Tenn. (37 percent).

Fayetteville is currently in the middle of creating a new master plan for its downtown that is more centered on drawing the coveted age group back to the county.

— Additional reporting by Ben Nelms