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Report: Philly is 32nd in millennial population growth

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Millennials still aren’t buying here

Philly often likes to boast that it has the fastest growing millennial population among all major U.S. cities. While that may be true, a new report suggests that 18-34 year olds are setting their sights away from the coasts and toward the center of the country.

Among the 50 largest metro areas, the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro ranks 32nd in millennial population growth from 2005-2015, with a decrease of 0.2 percent, according to a new Apartment List report.

In fact, the millennial population in Philadelphia hit its peak in 2005 with 407,797. In 2015, there were 372,497 millennials living in the metro region, according to U.S. Census Bureau stats.

However, those numbers stand in stark contrast with other recent reports that the city of Philadelphia’s millennial population has been growing at record rates in recent years. A 2014 Pew report found that the city’s population of 20- to 34-year-olds increased by about 100,000 from 2006 through 2012, for example, making up 26 percent of the total population.

The discrepancy points to an interesting phenomenon, says data scientist Andrew Woo. Apartment List researchers note that they looked at the Philadelphia metro region, which includes Philly, Camden, and Wilmington, DE, as a whole.

“That's an interesting result, actually,” says data scientist Andrew Woo. “[It] suggests that many millennials are moving to the Philly urban core, but away from the broader Philly metro.”

Homeownership is also down in Philly among millennials, falling 7.2 percent since 2005.

So where are millennials moving to besides Philadelphia? Charlotte, Austin, and Houston, the top three cities that have experienced the biggest boom in millennials since 2005.

Not surprisingly, millennials are attracted to these more affordable cities that also increasing salaries. The researchers found that millennial population growth is correlated with median income.

Philly’s metro region, however, has only experienced a 0.2 percent increase in the median income, rising from $64,995 in 2005 to $65,123 in 2015. (The city’s median income, meanwhile, is $39,043.)

The main takeaway: Whether it’s in the metro region or Philly proper, the noted millennial exodus will likely continue without improved job and wage growth.