Boston Has the Second-Most Impactful Millennial Population Nationwide

According to new rankings from Politico, the size and productivity of the Hub's 25- to 34-year-olds are second only to San Francisco.

The Boston skyline at sunrise

Photo via iStock

Boston may not be the nation’s millennial powerhouse, but at least we’ve earned the biggest participation trophy.

According to a new study from Politico, the size, composition, and impact of San Francisco’s population between the ages of 25 and 34 makes it the country’s most millennial-molded metropolis. Meanwhile, Boston’s large, dynamic population of young people snagged the Hub the silver.

The rankings are based on several factors aimed at quantifying millennials’ impact and productivity across the country. Criteria include the relative size and education level of a city’s young population; the robustness of an urban center’s economy; the percentage of new arrivals in a metropolis; and how common it is for young people to rely on a city’s public transportation system.

Adults ages 25 to 34 make up 23 percent of the Hub’s population, and 15 percent of those folks moved to Boston within the last year. Politico noted that the majority of young people—52 percent—rely on alternative modes of transportation like the MBTA or walking to get around the city. The data also paints a picture of Boston’s expensive, crowded housing market, finding that nearly a third of millennials funnel at least 35 percent of their income toward rent or homeownership fees.

While the Hub’s millennials kept pace with those who call San Francisco home in several demographic categories, the Northern California powerhouse pulled away from us in terms of job growth and median income level. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of jobs in the Hub grew by 12 percent, while in San Francisco, the number of open positions jumped 27 percent. And while the average income level of a millennial-headed household in Boston stands at $74,000, the figure totals $120,000 in San Francisco.

Politico’s rankings support the idea that young people are gravitating toward coastal destinations. Aside from Denver, Minneapolis, and Austin, the top 10 cities shaped by millennials all touch either the Atlantic or Pacific Ocean. Along with San Francisco and Boston, Washington, D.C., rounds out the list’s top-three, while New York came in at no. 11, and Chicago notched the 19th-place spot.