Suppose we could bet states as if they were horses engaged in a decade-long economic race. How would you place your bets? Well, one way to evaluate a state's prospects might be to look at the number of millennials aged 25 to 34 that were there in 2010. This age group is critical to a state's future because they represent the next wave of new families, new home buyers and big spenders.
Over the next 10 years, they will move into the 35 to 44 age cohort and increase their average household spending by 23%, a jump of more than $10,000 per household, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So one way to pick states with high economic prospects is to look at how many 25- to 34-year-olds each has numerically and in relation to a national average, and how fast that cohort is growing.
Horses need to be bigger than ponies, so we set a minimum threshold of 200,000 millennials aged 25 to 34 years old, a minimum growth rate of 9% since 2000 and an index higher than the 100 nationwide. The 10 states that meet that criteria are listed below. Three stand out: Texas, with 3.6 million 25- to 34-year olds, up 14% since 2000; Washington, with nearly 1 million, up 11%; and Colorado with 0.73 million, up 9%. Each of those states indexes above 104, has a diverse population as well as a diverse economy, and may have the best prospects in the race to 2020.
Which states have a low index and have the highest percentage loss of millennials aged 25 to 34 since 2000? All nine Northeastern states, plus Michigan and Ohio.
Source: 2010 Census Index = 100 for % of population that is 25-34