Detroit area’s millennial population gets middling rank

Louis Aguilar
The Detroit News

The size, diversity and education levels of Metro Detroit’s millennial population put the region in the “middle of the pack” among U.S. major metro areas, according an analysis by the Brookings Institution being released Wednesday.

Metro Detroit had a 4.6 percent growth of residents aged 18-to-34 during the first five years of the decade, but the region ranked in the lower half in terms of millennial-aged college graduates, according to the report.

The study found 34 percent of area millennials had college degrees, ranking the region 61st among 100 major metropolitan areas.

The new report, titled “The millennial generation: A demographic bridge to America’s diverse future,” was authored by William Frey, a demographer and senior fellow at Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, a Washington think tank.

Frey analyzed data from the U.S. Census’ 2015 American Community Survey.

“I’d say the millennial attributes of Detroit’s population are kind of in the middle,” Frey said in a Tuesday telephone interview.

There are “high fliers” like Boston and Madison, Wisconsin, that attract high percentages of millennials with college degrees.

But there are other regions with slower growth of millennials compared with Metro Detroit, or with higher percentages of less-educated millennials, such as parts of the industrial Midwest, interior cities in California and some areas in Florida, Frey said.

Millennials total more than 75 million and are the nation’s largest generation, surpassing baby boomers. Millennials were born between 1981 to 1997. The youngest millennials turn 21 this year, while the oldest turns 37.

Millennials make up 30 percent of the voting-age population and nearly two-fifths of the working-age population. They are the most diverse ethnic and racial generation in U.S. history.

“They will serve as a social, economic and political bridge” to the even more diverse generations expected to follow them, Frey said.

The Brookings’ report focuses on the generation’s diversity as well as education attainment, home ownership, marital status and poverty levels.

Twitter: @LouisAguilar_DN