Why millennials are moving away from large urban centers

For years, rural areas and small towns consistently lost some of their most talented young people, who moved to urban centers. But recent census data indicates that this “brain drain” phenomenon is subsiding as both millennials and more Americans of all ages are increasingly choosing to live in suburbs and smaller cities. Jeffrey Brown travels to Montana to find out what’s driving the migration.


Republic County does have an increase in older generations as baby boomers move into new age groups but we are also seeing an increase in younger people returning. This opposes the popular myth that young people are leaving rural in droves.

More from Ben Winchester on his research on “Brain Gain” seen in rural America – KSU First Friday Webinar featuring Ben –https://mediasite.k-state.edu/mediasite/Play/64086c7dfdc84b7f87ebb2ab7c7be6161d

Increases of young people were estimated from 2010-2019 in these age groups 25-29 (3%), 30-34 (38.7%), and 35-39 (20.6%). Figures below is from ESRI’s data reports showing changes from 2010-2019, 2010-2016, 2000-2010, and 1990-2000.