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Where Do New Jersey’s Out-Migrating Millennials Go?

November 7th, 2018 by Tim Evans

What are the most common destinations, at the county level, for Millennials who move out of New Jersey? Part 2 of a series investigating where New Jersey’s out-migrating Millennials are going.

New Jersey Future intern Alexandra Rome assembled the data on which this analysis was based.

In part 1 of this series, we looked at the most common destinations, by county, for people of all ages who move from New Jersey to other parts of the United States. In part 2, we look specifically at where out-migrants of the Millennial generation – typically defined as those born between 1980 and 2000 – are going when they leave.

While the overall county-to-county migration flows used in the analysis in part 1 are produced by the Census Bureau on an annual basis, migration data broken out by age range are only tabulated every five years. For the present analysis, we are thus restricted to using data from the two years – 2010 and 2015 – for which migration data by age are available from the American Community Survey. We look only at out-migrants age 20 or older, under the assumptions that younger migrants are either 1) too young in most cases to be the person in charge of making the decision for a household to move, or 2) moving to attend college, in which case the relocation decisions are often temporary and their inclusion may obscure other important trends in the data.

For each of the two years, we used the standard age ranges that most closely correspond to the age ranges into which adult Millennials (age 20 or more) would fall at the time:

  • For 2015, we included out-migrants aged 20 to 34 (covering people born between 1981 and 1995, with the youngest Millennials mostly not yet of age to be making relocation decisions)
  • For 2010, we included out-migrants aged 20 to 29 (those born from 1981 to 1990; younger Millennials were not yet adults, while older age ranges at this point corresponded to older generations)

Combining the two years of data, there were 193,054 people age 20 or older who left New Jersey for another state in either 2010 or 2015. Roughly half of them (49 percent) were Millennials and the other half were from older generations.

The table below lists the top 30 destination counties for New Jersey out-migrants for each of the two age groups (Millennials vs. older generations), each of which attracted close to or more than 1,000 out-migrants in the indicated age group in the two years combined.

Top Destination Counties for Out-Migrants from New Jersey, by Age Group

Millennials Older Out-migrants
Rank Destination County Destination State Major City In County Destination County Destination State Major City In County
1 New York New York Manhattan Borough (NYC) New York New York Manhattan Borough (NYC)
2 Philadelphia Pennsylvania coextensive w/city of Philadelphia Palm Beach Florida West Palm Beach / Boca Raton
3 Kings New York Brooklyn Borough (NYC) Bucks Pennsylvania NE Philadelphia suburbs
4 Queens New York Queens Borough (NYC) Philadelphia Pennsylvania coextensive w/city of Philadelphia
5 Bucks Pennsylvania NE Philadelphia suburbs Northampton Pennsylvania Bethlehem
6 New Castle Delaware Wilmington Queens New York Queens Borough (NYC)
7 Montgomery Pennsylvania N/NW Philadelphia suburbs Broward Florida Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood
8 Bronx New York Bronx Borough (NYC) New Castle Delaware Wilmington
9 Northampton Pennsylvania Bethlehem Kings New York Brooklyn Borough (NYC)
10 Los Angeles California Los Angeles Maricopa Arizona Phoenix
11 Orange Florida Orlando Miami-Dade Florida Miami
12 Suffolk Massachusetts Boston Los Angeles California Los Angeles
13 District of Columbia District of Columbia Washington Wake North Carolina Raleigh
14 Broward Florida Fort Lauderdale / Hollywood Bronx New York Bronx Borough (NYC)
15 Middlesex Massachusetts Lowell / NW Boston suburbs Montgomery Pennsylvania N/NW Philadelphia suburbs
16 Delaware Pennsylvania W/SW Philadelphia suburbs Lee Florida Cape Coral / Fort Myers
17 Maricopa Arizona Phoenix Mecklenburg North Carolina Charlotte
18 Miami-Dade Florida Miami Orange Florida Orlando
19 Chester Pennsylvania W Philadelphia suburbs Chester Pennsylvania W Philadelphia suburbs
20 Westchester New York Yonkers / N suburban NYC Hillsborough Florida Tampa
21 Harris Texas Houston Fairfield Connecticut Bridgeport / Stamford / Danbury
22 Cook Illinois Chicago Westchester New York Yonkers / N suburban NYC
23 Fairfield Connecticut Bridgeport / Stamford / Danbury Monroe Pennsylvania Stroudsburg / far W exurban NYC
24 Mecklenburg North Carolina Charlotte Harris Texas Houston
25 Centre Pennsylvania State College Pinellas Florida St. Petersburg / Clearwater
26 San Diego California San Diego Montgomery Maryland N Washington DC suburbs
27 Montgomery Maryland N Washington DC suburbs Orange New York Newburgh / N suburban NYC
28 Hillsborough Florida Tampa Middlesex Massachusetts Lowell / NW Boston suburbs
29 Lehigh Pennsylvania Allentown Delaware Pennsylvania W/SW Philadelphia suburbs
30 Baltimore city Maryland Baltimore Cook Illinois Chicago


Top Destinations for Older Out-Migrants

Let us first look at the counties that appear on one list but not the other. Counties that rank in the top 30 destinations for older out-migrants but not for Millennials include Pinellas, Palm Beach, and Lee counties in Florida; Wake County, North Carolina; Orange County, New York; and Monroe County, Pennsylvania. The first three clearly illustrate Florida’s attractiveness as a retirement destination for older people from the Northeastern United States but not necessarily as a draw for young adults. Wake County in North Carolina is interesting in that it contains a well-known city (Raleigh) that is growing rapidly, but it is a city that has experienced most of its growth more recently and in a more car-dependent pattern than is typical of the kinds of places Millennials are seeking out. Finally, the detailed age data indicate that Monroe County, Pennsylvania (the Stroudsburg area, across the Delaware River from New Jersey along Interstate 80) and Orange County, New York (in the lower Hudson Valley) are attracting primarily middle-aged migrants, likely people who are still working at jobs in the New York metro area and may be in search of cheaper housing, though not necessarily in the same walkable urban settings that Millennials favor.

Top Destinations for Millennials

Counties that rank in the top 30 destinations for Millennials but not for older out-migrants include the cities of Baltimore and Washington, D.C. (which are both independent of any county and are statistically treated as county equivalents); Lehigh and Centre counties in Pennsylvania; Suffolk County, Massachusetts; and San Diego County, California. Even though we restricted our analysis to out-migrants age 20 or older, Centre County, Pennsylvania, can probably still be explained by Penn State University attracting graduate students and/or people starting college a few years later than standard. But the others (with the possible exception of San Diego County) are characterized by older, more densely populated urban areas that are particularly attractive to Millennials. Lehigh County is interesting, in that an argument could be made that it is simply experiencing the same influx of North Jersey commuters in search of cheaper housing that puts its Lehigh Valley neighbor Northampton County on the list. But while Northampton County appears on the list for both age groups, the more urbanized Lehigh County is particularly attracting Millennials.

We can be more systematic about identifying counties whose in-migrants from New Jersey are disproportionately in the Millennial generation. Recall that 49 percent of all out-migrants from New Jersey for 2010 and 2015 combined were Millennials. Where are the individual destination counties where this percentage is the highest? That is, in which counties do Millennials comprise the greatest shares of incoming New Jerseyans?

To avoid the analysis being thrown off by counties with very small and potentially unrepresentative flows, we considered only the 164 counties that received at least 100 migrants from New Jersey in the two years combined. Among these counties, the table below shows the top 30 counties in which Millennials made up the highest percentages of in-migrating New Jerseyans:


New Jersey Out-migrant Destination Counties with Flows Most Dominated by Millennials

Destination County Destination State Major City In County All NJ Out-migrants Age 20 or Older Millennials Older Generations Millennials as a Percentage of All Adult Out-migrants
York Virginia Yorktown / suburban Newport News 278 278 0 100.0%
Washington Rhode Island Westerly / Kingston 107 107 0 100.0%
Richmond Georgia Augusta 153 146 7 95.4%
Centre Pennsylvania State College 1,042 966 76 92.7%
Montgomery Ohio Dayton 154 141 13 91.6%
Durham North Carolina Durham 291 259 32 89.0%
St. Johns Florida St. Augustine 141 121 20 85.8%
District of Columbia District of Columbia Washington 1,513 1,281 232 84.7%
Davidson Tennessee Nashville 167 140 27 83.8%
Monongalia West Virginia Morgantown 154 129 25 83.8%
Hampshire Massachusetts Northampton 103 86 17 83.5%
Baltimore city Maryland Baltimore 1,045 860 185 82.3%
Tompkins New York Ithaca 309 240 69 77.7%
Lackawanna Pennsylvania Scranton 1,050 812 238 77.3%
Lake Illinois Waukegan / N suburban Chicago 152 117 35 77.0%
Pulaski Missouri Fort Leonard Wood 102 78 24 76.5%
Providence Rhode Island Providence 1,054 795 259 75.4%
Cuyahoga Ohio Cleveland 472 352 120 74.6%
St. Louis County Missouri W suburban St. Louis 113 84 29 74.3%
Erie New York Buffalo 163 121 42 74.2%
Oakland Michigan Troy / Pontiac / NW Detroit suburbs 294 214 80 72.8%
Suffolk Massachusetts Boston 2,056 1,449 607 70.5%
Norfolk city Virginia Norfolk 240 169 71 70.4%
Chittenden Vermont Burlington 128 90 38 70.3%
New Hanover North Carolina Wilmington 151 105 46 69.5%
Monroe New York Rochester 678 467 211 68.9%
Philadelphia Pennsylvania coextensive w/ city of Philadelphia 11,445 7,819 3,626 68.3%
Prince George’s Maryland E suburbs of Washington DC 849 579 270 68.2%
New York New York Manhattan Borough (NYC) 19,174 12,694 6,480 66.2%
Hennepin Minnesota Minneapolis 232 153 79 65.9%


In all of these counties, at least two-thirds of in-migrants arriving from New Jersey are Millennials, compared to only about half of New Jersey’s overall outflow being Millennials. These counties are clearly disproportionately attracting Millennials from New Jersey relative to people in older age ranges.

What characteristics do these counties possess that might be making them particularly attractive to the current generation of young adults? Keen observers will note a few counties on this list that are probably attracting young adults because they are home to a major institution (like a university or a military facility) that attracts young adults by its very nature. In the next installment, we will attempt to remove some of these “outlier” counties that are disproportionately attracting young adults because of a particular institution within their borders rather than because of the characteristics of the host county itself. We will then examine the remaining counties that attract high rates of New Jersey Millennial out-migrants to see how they compare to the full spectrum of New Jersey out-migrant destinations.

From Stormwater to Clean Water: New Flood-Control, Pollution Resource for Towns

November 5th, 2018 by Louise Wilson

New Jersey Future’s Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit Makes a Splash

The related problems of nuisance flooding and polluted waterways are getting worse in our Garden State. To help cities and towns address these problems, New Jersey Future has developed the Green Infrastructure Municipal Toolkit: a one-stop online resource useful to any community in New Jersey, whether new to the opportunities green infrastructure presents or already implementing GI and seeking more specific expert guidance. The toolkit includes detailed information and a variety of tools that cities and towns can use to plan, implement, and sustain green infrastructure in public- and private-sector development projects.

Green infrastructure has become a mainstream stormwater management technique in much of the country. This toolkit will be a big help to New Jersey communities — especially in view of expected updates to the state’s stormwater management rules that will require the use of green infrastructure, making it the go-to strategy for pollution prevention and flood mitigation. And that’s a very good thing. Read the rest of this entry »

A Better Way To Plan for Traffic Effects of New Development

November 2nd, 2018 by Tanya Rohrbach

Woodmont Metro at Metuchen Station, built near transit and with shared parking, reducing the need for driving between destinations.

San Jose, California, is changing the way transportation planning is done. In a webinar hosted by Smart Growth America, a San Jose transportation planner discussed the problems with using transportation level of service (LOS) as a metric for mitigating impacts of traffic. Level of service measures the supply side of transportation – for example, the time it takes for a car to get through an intersection or the number of parking spaces per facility – but it doesn’t measure how efficiently a space is being used. A disconnect exists between land use and transportation in LOS analyses because there is no consideration given to other aspects of the space, such as a location’s vibrancy or access to mobility without the use of a personal vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »

Where Do New Jersey’s Out-Migrants Go?

October 25th, 2018 by Tim Evans

What are the most common destinations, at the county level, for people who move out of New Jersey? Part 1 of a series investigating where New Jersey’s out-migrating residents, in particular its Millennials, are going.

The question of whether or not New Jersey is losing Millennials to other states (answer: It is) raises other questions, including whether the out-migration of young people is any different from the long-standing general domestic out-migration from New Jersey (and indeed from most of the Northeast) to other, usually warmer, parts of the country. Where do people – of any age – go when they move out of New Jersey?

To establish a baseline for the top destinations for all New Jersey out-migrants irrespective of age, the table below contains a list of the top 30 counties that received the largest numbers of out-migrants from New Jersey between 2009 and 2015.* Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future Releases Action Plan for Trenton Transit Center Area

October 23rd, 2018 by Peter Kasabach

New Jersey Future has released the Trenton Transit Center Strategic Action Plan, calling for the transformation of the neighborhood around the transit center into a vibrant and dynamic district. The neighborhood, which was designated as a federal Opportunity Zone, is home to several undeveloped properties, and lacks both accommodation for pedestrians and bicyclists and a unifying neighborhood identity, making it ripe for redevelopment.

Recommendations for implementing the plan include:

  • A dramatic increase in the number and variety of housing units in the area, to provide vibrancy and a customer base for local businesses;
  • A plan to develop and integrate public plaza and open spaces, which will provide amenities and increase neighboring property values;
  • A plan to fix key intersections to increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety, and to make the neighborhood more welcoming to those travelers.

These actions will equip the neighborhood with the tools needed to be a welcoming place for individuals, families, and businesses to live, work, and play.

New Jersey Future developed the plan for Greater Trenton in partnership with Clarke Caton Hintz. The plan was made possible through funding from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, and undertaken in parallel and in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Transit Opportunity Zone study, conducted for the City of Trenton.

Full report

DEP Gathers Input at Coastal Resilience Summit on Local Actions To Plan for Climate Change

October 23rd, 2018 by Tanya Rohrbach

New Jersey Future provided information on innovative planning strategies and implementation actions from other coastal locations

Damaged homes along the Jersey Shore (Courtesy of Greg Thompson, USFWS)

Temperatures are rising faster in New Jersey than the national average, and the rate of sea level rise is accelerating faster in New Jersey than globally, according to Bob Kopp, director of the Rutgers University Institute of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Sciences. At the 2018 New Jersey Coastal Resilience Summit convened October 9-10 at Monmouth University by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, he and other climate experts presented data to show the extent to which sea level rise due to climate change will affect New Jersey’s coastal communities based on various scenarios of intensity. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future Contributes Resiliency Planning Chapter to Planning Guide

October 12th, 2018 by Tanya Rohrbach

The New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association has published the 2018 edition of the only comprehensive print resource for an overview of New Jersey planning law, regulation and policy.

New Jersey Future Planning Manager David Kutner, AICP, PP, co-authored the Resiliency Planning chapter of the 2018 edition of the Complete Guide to Planning in New Jersey, published by the New Jersey Chapter of the American Planning Association. Co-authors on the chapter include Hoboken Community Development Director Brandy Forbes, AICP; Hoboken Chief Sustainability Officer Jennifer Gonzalez, AICP; and Hoboken Principal Planner Caleb Stratton, AICP. With so many land use planning changes in New Jersey since the 2010 edition, particularly in the realm of sustainability, the need for this fourth edition of the guide was evident.

This is the first edition to include a chapter on Resiliency Planning. As part of the Resource Planning section of the guide, the Resiliency Planning chapter highlights important issues, provides an overview of adaptation strategies for building resilient communities, offers examples of resources, and makes recommendations for integrating resiliency into traditional planning methods. Read the rest of this entry »

The Transportation-Emissions Reduction Strategy No One’s Talking About

October 8th, 2018 by Tim Evans

welcome to new jersey traffic signTransportation is clearly an emissions and energy-use issue; moving people and goods from one place to another requires energy, which in turn generates emissions. In fact, the transportation sector is now the biggest contributor to New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions. In recognition of this fact, the Board of Public Utilities recently conducted a stakeholder meeting on “Clean and Reliable Transportation” as part of its effort to update the state’s Energy Master Plan. Read the rest of this entry »

New Jersey Future To Participate in Trenton Innovation Challenge Grant

October 2nd, 2018 by Elaine Clisham

New Jersey Future is a strategic partner in the $100,000 state Innovation Challenge Grant awarded to a consortium in the City of Trenton, and played a key role in the application process.

The grant will help the city develop the Trenton Production and Knowledge Innovation Campus, envisioned as an incubator, maker’s campus and training center near the Trenton Transit Center. Its investments will focus on both real estate development and workforce entrepreneurship training and mentoring, and will involve partnerships with several area institutions of higher learning as well as Trenton public schools. Read the rest of this entry »

Stormwater Camp: A Summer Week To Remember

September 25th, 2018 by Louise Wilson


New Jersey Future-funded Stormwater Camp in Sussex County finishes its second successful year.

Whose rain garden is this?”


That’s the question that Nathaniel Sajdak, watershed director at Wallkill River Watershed Management Group, asks of the children who help to plant, mulch and maintain a few big, beautiful rain gardens in Sussex County schools and parks. And that’s the answer they shout: “Ours!”

These bioretention basins collect and clean hundreds of thousands of gallons of stormwater runoff that otherwise would pick up pollutants on its way through pipes directly into the Paulinskill River, a pristine tributary to the Delaware River that flows through New Jersey’s Highlands. Read the rest of this entry »

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