For years Jacksonville, and the state of Florida as a whole, was seen as “old people” territory. It was a place where people went to settle down and start a family, or to retire.
In recent years, though, the tides have changed.
Jacksonville has emerged as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. In fact, Forbes magazine recently cited Jacksonville as the #2 most popular city to move to.
Even more notable is where that growth is coming from; the number of residents in their 20s increased by 5% from 2009 to 2014.
So why are more people, and specifically more millennials, choosing Jacksonville?
Cost of living
Jacksonville consistently ranks among the more affordable cities in America. With new apartment complexes going up year-round, older complexes are forced to lower their rates to remain competitive. This creates a plethora of affordable housing options.
Complexes like 220 Riverside and The Brooklyn at Riverside provide the type of experience often seen in college towns, which will make fresh graduates feel right at home.
Additionally, the estimated average cost of a house in Jacksonville (according to Forbes) is $272,400. This includes newer housing developments on the edge of city limits, and the pricier houses at the beaches. In other words, if you’re not picky about location, your starting price will actually be even lower. While most 20-somethings aren’t looking to buy a house yet, it’s a comforting idea to start building your life in a city in which you know you’ll eventually be able to settle down.
Jobs on jobs on jobs
The Jacksonville job market is booming, especially for millennials.
The city has one of the fastest growing financial sectors in the country, with several national banks having dramatically increased their Jacksonville operations in the past decade.
Additionally, Jacksonville is taking off in another sector that is key to millennials: technology. Jacksonville Business Journal recently reported that the city’s tech talent grew 18.8% from 2013 to 2015. The city added just under 3,000 new tech-related jobs from 2011 to 2013.
The city’s overall unemployment rate sits at 4.4%, coming in below the national rate of 4.9%.
Their peers are here
Being a young person in Jacksonville isn’t such a lonely life any more.
With the ongoing revival of downtown and Riverside, driven largely by this new wave of young professionals, there’s now plenty of gathering places to meet people and have a good time. And with such significant job growth going on downtown, many of these new residents are able to work and play in the same area.
What it means for our future
Jacksonville figures to continue its rapid growth, and its refocusing around this new generation of residents. As such, downtown and Riverside will likely continue to develop quickly. eventually development will expand outward into areas like Springfield and Arlington that are close to the urban core and in desperate need of attention.
Young professionals will continue to help define the city’s image for years to come, and can help to reinvent Jacksonville to truly become the “Bold New City of the South”.