The Power of Millennial Money

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By: JLL Dallas Research

Recently, a map had been circulating online that noted the average salaries of millennials in each state.  Because the state-to-state differences were pretty minor, we decided to investigate further and look into what this really meant to working millennials in major metro areas.

To start, we pulled incomes for working millennials (ages 25-34 years) in the major metro areas in the US.  The initial results showed the obvious – that average incomes vary widely, with certain parts of the country boasting incomes that are, in some cases, dramatically higher than the averages.  For example, in Dallas-Fort Worth the average millennial income is $69,000 versus $70,000 for Portland.  This compares to almost $99,000 in the Bay Area.

But this is not the whole story. Because significant cost of living differences exist between markets, we decided to adjust these incomes to get a better sense of the “value of a dollar” for these millennial households.  When we looked at cost of living, some of these differences were staggering and showed that their dollar did not go very far in some markets.

We created a table detailing the average household income for working millennials in several markets across the US, adjustments for each markets’ cost of living (based on information from the Council for Community and Economic Research) and the comparisons between the two.

While we did this for the top 50 markets that JLL tracks, we mapped only select markets, most of which have been showing strong vitality in job gains.  This effort allowed us to compare incomes to the US average ($67,900) and, thereby, provide a clearer, more comprehensive view of the numbers when comparing one metro to another. To be fair, many other medium to smaller markets have good incomes and lower costs of living, but the scale of growth in these markets can limit job opportunities for millennials entering the workforce and progressively advancing their careers.

Using these findings, we created this map noting the disparity for several of these key markets, highlighting the differences from the national average of the working millennial’s annual income:

Texas scores high for Millennials

(Click the image above to view an interactive version of our map.)

As we look more broadly at our findings, the Texas markets come out on top – simply due to the solid incomes in the growing economies and the corresponding lower cost of living – driven mostly by housing and no personal income taxes.  So, in Texas, the average income of a millennial will feel $1,000 to $7,300 higher than the US average – which gives them more potential dollars available for spending – meaning the value of their money goes further.

In contrast, higher cost markets like the Bay Area – even though the millennial income is nearing $100,000 – spends more like $13,500 less than the US average.

From a talent pipeline perspective – both talent acquisition and retention – these differences are critical in recruiting across all industries.  Interestingly, DFW and the other major Texas markets, can be viewed as prospective catalysts or “money magnets” for the working millennial – where diverse job opportunities are growing, career advancement is high, and above average spending power puts you ahead of the your peers in other markets.

For more information or inquires to our research team, please contact Public Relations Manager Harvey Mireles.

Click here to view other reports from JLL Research.

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