Millennials are the only generation happier living in urban centers than in rural suburbs — but rapidly rising real estate prices are increasingly quashing their dreams of city living, according to a new study and its authors.
The study, published last month in the Regional Journal by Rutgers University professor Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn and Baruch College professor Rubia Valente, measures happiness levels across more than a century using data from the U.S. General Social Survey. From the Lost Generation to the Millennials, those born between 1981 and 2004, the authors determined the latest generation of young adults preferred urban living in far greater numbers than their predecessors.
“In recent years, most real estate decisions have not been based solely on preference, or in maximizing one’s happiness, but largely on one’s financial means and job opportunities, particularly given the rising cost in metropolitan areas,” Valente told Inman last week. “So for real estate, it’s fair to say that even though Millennials would be happier in cities and probably want to be in cities, most are being forced out by the housing market.”
Millennials are the only generation to experience higher levels of happiness in cities with more than 250,000 people, according to the study. Generation X, Baby Boomers and all other previous generations experienced higher levels of happiness in smaller towns with fewer than 250,000, the authors found.
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