Atlanta Ranks No. 2 As Best City For Millennials | WABE 90.1 FM

Atlanta Ranks No. 2 As Best City For Millennials

Oct 1, 2015

Atlanta is one of the best cities in America to be a millennial. That's according to Time's Money section, which ranked us second, after Austin.

The list is a group of cities where there's good projected job growth ─ in Atlanta, more than 14 percent through 2019, Moody's Analytics reports.

Atlanta has a relatively affordable cost of living, compared to New York City or the San Francisco Bay Area. Also, there's lots to do here, and good access to grocery stores, parks, bars.

Bruce Seaman, an economics professor at the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, said cities across the country are attracting millennials. He said there's no doubt Atlanta's made changes to attract these 18 to 34 year olds.

"After many many years of not having enough park acreage the BeltLine is having a huge impact ─ the serious effort by the city to develop bike trails, the increased walkability of midtown, which is my neighborhood," said Seaman.

As for the No. 2 spot, Seaman said, "There's been a fascinating effort to design various indices for attractability of cities."

Some argue, he said, that adding urban amenities to a city makes it more attractive, increasing job opportunities, and then comes the workforce. Whether it actually works in that order is up for debate, said Seaman.

Job growth may be improving here, said Seaman, "but the recession really hit Atlanta hard and our recovery rate has been exceeded by a number of most 'competitive cities.'"

As it happens, WABE reporter Molly Samuel's brother and sister-in-law, both freelancers in their early 30s, are moving to Atlanta.

Alyssa Kapnik Samuel says, compared to other potential cities they were considering, they can afford more here.

"Two bedrooms more than we could afford in Denver, and three bedrooms more than we could afford in Berkeley, California, where we currently live," said Samuel.

She said she's gotten the impression that Atlantans are more willing to share and connect creatively than in other cities where resources are more limited.

"One of the reasons we're moving away from the Bay Area is because it doesn't feel like there's room to grow, or room to have a family. Room to evolve," said Samuel.

Atlanta, on the other hand, because it's still growing, still holds the potential to make it anything they want to be, she said.