Mar

By Daniel Hutti, CBN Graduate Research Assistant

This week’s maps take a look at millennials in the St. Louis region. According to an article from The Atlantic, the millennial generation includes people who are currently between 12 and 34 years old.  For this analysis, the range will be limited somewhat to include people between 21 and 34 years old.

Why is it worth paying attention to millennials? Millennials’ preferences for community characteristics are strong, and should be noted by city planners. That is at least the opinion of Anthony Flint in a 2014 article for CityLab. He notes that millennials want “better transportation options, walkable communities, technology-enabled cities, and housing that would allow ‘aging in place’.” Do these comments match reality in St. Louis? The two maps below take a look.

The first map is a millennial density map for the St. Louis region. This map takes the count of millennials by Census Tract and divides it by the Census Tract’s area. The figures in the legend, then, are not the population, but rather a measure of millennial density. The darker green a geography is the higher its millennial density. From this map, there is high millennial density in parts of south St. Louis City, the Central West End and in Downtown.

2014 Millenial Map

The next map takes a closer look at denser areas previously described (ie, south city, Downtown and the Central West End). In this map, I have also included overlays of parks, the metro link, and neighborhoods, whose Walk Score is considered to be “very walkable” or higher. The neighborhood with the highest walk score happens to be Downtown, but compared with other tracts, its relatively less dense with millennials. The Downtown neighborhood is home to several MetroLink stops, bike lanes, the Arch, and it is home to T-Rex. The Central West End is the 12th most walkable neighborhood according to Walk Score, and it has the highest millennial density measure. The neighborhood is also close to Forest Park, a MetroLink stop, and it is close to St. Louis’ innovative district, the Cortex Innovation Community.

Millenial Map Zoom In

Flint’s comments describe some of St. Louis’ millennials, but not all. For example, there are pockets of St. Louis that are not the most walkable, are far from transit options and technology centers, but have relatively high millennial densities. The South Hampton area is one example, as is a part of Dutchtown. Affordability might be an explanation. Other perceptions, such as race or crime, might explain these areas as well. Other areas, like the Central West End, match Flint’s comments closely. Another example is the Shaw neighborhood, which is not “very walkable” by Walk Score standards, but is close to bicycle lanes on Tower Grove Avenue, is just south of Cortex and the Central West End, and sits just north of Tower Grove park. In general, Flint’s comments appear to be correct for most areas with high millennial density.

If you have a map or an idea for a map that would be of interest to our readers, send us an email at cbn@umsl.edu. You can see maps from previous editions of the Community Builders Exchange by clicking here.