News Releases - 2014

Philly Millennial Surge “Promising but fragile”

    Release Date: 1/23/2014

    January 23, 2014--A recent surge in Philadelphia residents ages 20 to 34, sometimes called Millennials, has changed the demographic face of the city, now accounting for more than a quarter of the city's population, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts report.

    The report, “Millenials in Philadelphia,” released today, features an Abt SRBI survey of the Philadelphia millennial population. Abt SRBI interviewed 524 millenials in June and July 2013 as part of a citywide random sample of 1,605 residents.

    But the report calls the millennial surge — mainly centered in areas surrounding center city — “a promising but fragile boom.” Half of these young adults in the survey said they would likely move out of the city in five to 10 years in search of better schools and stronger career prospects. This compares to 3 in 10 of other city residents.

    Young adults are drawn to the city by its vibrancy, diversity, culture, walkability, and nightlife. However, the millennials cited job and career reasons, lack of job opportunity, poor public schools and child-rearing concerns, and crime and public safety as the primary reasons for their potential departures.

    Only about 1 in 3 percent of the millennials (36%) would recommend Philadelphia as a place to raise children, while 56 percent said they would not.

    “The strong growth in the population of young adults in Philadelphia offers promise for the future vitality of the city,” said Larry Eichel, director of Pew’s Philadelphia Research initiative and the author of the report, in a news release. “However, our research highlights that many millennials are poised to leave,” he said.

    Eichel raised a key question: How does the city keep young adults here? "They pay taxes but make relatively few demands on city services. Employers covet them for their ambition, their flexibility, and their willingness to work for relatively low wages. And if a substantial number of them put down roots and raise families in the city, they will help enhance its viability for years to come," he wrote.


    Abt SRBI Public Affairs designed the survey and conducted all interviewing, working with Cliff Zukin, a veteran pollster and professor of public policy and political science at Rutgers University.

    The Pew survey was conducted by telephone from July 23 to Aug. 13, 2013, among a citywide random sample of 1,605 city residents ages 18 and older. Interviews were conducted with 575 landline users and 1,035 cellphone users to reach a broad representative sample of Philadelphians. In the survey, 524 people ages 20 to 34 were interviewed. The margin of error for the entire sample is approximately plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. For the 20 - 34 age group alone, the margin of error is approximately plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.

    The final sample was weighted to reflect the demographic breakdown of the city. Surveys are subject to other error sources as well, including sampling coverage error, record error, and respondent error.

    The full report will be found at: