Los Angeles is a destination for all kinds of people, but especially young people looking to start their successful adult lives; and, as it goes with growing up, usually they either make it and move out or give up and move out. But what’s happening in these post-recession days is a real-life “Hotel California” where people just aren’t leaving the country’s three biggest metros, because they can’t afford it. And it’s especially severe in Los Angeles. According to the Wall Street Journal, in the pre-recession years of 2004 to 2007, an average of about 50,000 25 to 34 year old adults left the Los Angeles metro area every year in search of larger yards or better school districts or new job opportunities. But between 2010 and 2013, only about 12,000 left Los Angeles—an almost 80 percent drop from pre-recession times. Chicago saw a 60 percent drop in outward migration from this same demographic, and New York saw around a 50 percent decrease.
It’s possible that lots of under-34s are making a conscious choice to stay in Los Angeles and other huge metros because cities are improving and becoming more desirable places to live, or because young adults don’t feel any pressure to do those grown-up things like getting married or having kids that might make a move a necessity. But it’s also possible that young people aren’t feeling so great about the world outside the big city. Los Angeles housing is more expensive than ever and the wages are still low, but the perceived lack of job opportunities elsewhere and often-crippling student debt make roommates and renting forever seem like the only feasible options, and why do that elsewhere when you’re already doing it here?
Written By: Bianca Barragan