Millennials and Generation Z are responsible for the revival of suburban America, and conservative policies play a role in the phenomenon.
The pandemic served as a brutal wake-up call for people to trade in overpriced apartments for tract housing, as working in an office was no longer required for most white-collar occupations once lockdowns began.
For the economic hub of Manhattan, a survey taken by the Partnership for New York City revealed that a meager 10% of office employees in New York returned to the office as of March 2021, with 56% expected to continue to work remotely at least part-time once their employers decide to return in-person.
While some companies will continue to opt for Zoom meetings, others are choosing to grow their operations in red states, specifically in the financial sector. Wall Street titans Goldman Sachs and Apollo Global Management are planning to expand their physical offices in Florida, which became the poster child for bucking coronavirus lockdowns and promoting economic growth.
Recent U.S. Census Bureau data proved that the decisions made by corporate America resulted in gains for suburban areas nationwide, as people realized that living in a metropolis was no longer the logical choice: 91% of suburban regions had more people moving in than out throughout the pandemic, a dramatic contrast from 82% of urban centers, which had more people leaving rather than arriving, Bloomberg reported.
It appears these moves were mostly made by younger people, with 16% of Generation Z and millennials reporting a move in the past 12 months as of October 2020, a Fortune/Survey Monkey poll determined. Their older counterparts reported significantly lower numbers, with only 5.5% saying they moved in the past year, according to the same survey.
States with conservative leadership, in particular, should be taking a victory lap with these developments, as seven of the top 10 states that millennials are moving to have a Republican governor, SmartAsset found. And five of the top 10 cities millennials are moving to have no state income tax, meaning that fiscally conservative policies are highly desirable.
The key takeaway is that young people are less likely to have to go to a “big city” or a densely populated state on the coast to achieve their career goals in the current economy. Between absurd rent prices, crime rates, and high taxes, the consequences of living in a city often outweigh the perks.
Too many adolescents have fallen into the trap of choosing an expensive college in Los Angeles, New York, or Washington, D.C., under the impression that they will have more opportunities in those areas. The pandemic shattered that narrative.
Proximity-based opportunities may come to fruition for some, but they often result in crippling debt due to rent and student loans for recent graduates working entry-level positions. Instead, the rising workforce should continue the suburb-friendly trend and explore what the rest of the country has to offer outside of crowded cities.
Cameron Arcand is a political commentator from Orange County, California. He is the founder of YoungNotStupid.com and a contributor to the Western Journal.
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