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Wisconsin Losing Millennials and Boomers, Study Finds

Wisconsin — and, more specifically, Milwaukee — is losing both millennials and Baby Boomers, a Brookings Institution study found.

Brookings released a study in late January focusing on the migration patterns of baby boomers and millennials from the Great Recession of 2007-09 through 2017 in major cities with populations over one million. Included in the study from Wisconsin was the city of Milwaukee which saw migration losses with both groups as recently as 2017.

With baby boomers, the rate of migration out of Wisconsin has slowed between 2013-2017 as compared to that of 2007-09. The rate of slowdown is attributed to delays in retirement as boomers reach senior age, and the inability to sell homes despite the better economic market as compared to 2007. Still, Boomers, when migrating, are still moving out from major metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago and LA to cities like Phoenix and Tampa Bay — cities with warmer climates, more manageable standards of living, and those closest to the states with the largest number of boomers migrating out (New York and California).

Though millennials’ migration rate out of Wisconsin has slowed, the numbers leaving the state are still significantly higher than baby boomers. Millennials are not moving for warmer climates, as numbers for this age group has increased in cities like Minneapolis/St. Paul, Columbus and Kansas City, according to the study. Instead, it seems, they find themselves moving not only to places with better standards of living, but also to more “educated” cities where higher populations of college graduates exist. In the Midwest, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Columbus and Kansas City are reported to have the most-educated populations.

While Milwaukee is losing both Boomers and Millennials, it isn’t yet in the top five cities for migration loss — New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Diego and Miami hold those distinctions.