Dallas-Fort Worth No. 1 in Attracting Migrating Millennials, JLL Snapshot Reports

Data shows job opportunities, cost of living, and quality of life are top draws for millennials looking to change locations.

Analysis of 2017 U.S. Census data illustrates that migration patterns of millennials are being driven by job opportunities, affordable housing, and quality of life, according to a new Snapshot from JLL.

Dallas-Fort Worth ranked No. 1 out of all cities examined for the study, while Texas was the second-ranked state behind Washington. 

JLL reported that Texas and the DFW area has created a significant number of jobs, with DFW seeing five-year job growth at 23 percent. Since 2010, the Dallas metro has added more than 900,000 jobs.

Career opportunities are crucial, but they’re not the only part of the millennial migration formula. 

Millennials get a financial advantage in DFW

According to JLL, affordability directly affects quality of life and an area’s “livability.” Texas and DFW are directly cited as having major advantages because of “their dynamic economies that drive above average incomes.”

The average millenial household income for the DFW metro is $80,300, while the income goes up to $137,700 in San Jose and is as low as $66,700 in Memphis. 

Despite DFW having an average household income, the study found millennials in Texas have an advantage of up to $9,400 in spending power over the national average, after it accounted for the cost of living.

And, Texas and DFW’s lower cost of living works as a draw for millennial households seeking to move up in the workforce and wanting a work-life balance.


These metro areas are sized by unadjusted income. Colored by variance from average US income once adjusted, with gray circles indicating higher incomes. [Map: Courtesy JLL]

“Importantly, while base incomes are the highest in some gateway cities—like San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles–the cost of living in those areas erodes that apparent spending power, essentially positioning these young professionals with “corrected” incomes below the U.S. average,” Walter Bialas, JLL’s vice president of research, wrote via email.

It all boils down to one word: opportunity.

“Those opportunities, combined with the affordability of our markets, allows someone starting or in the early stage of their career to balance their work with a high quality of life.  That is not a bad combination—and is why Texas is at the top of the list,” Bialas said.

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