Consumers aged 25 to 34 declined 5% in the Northeast and 2% in the Midwest from 2000 to 2010, a loss of over half a million millennials. By contrast that age cohort rose 7% in South and 8% in the West for a combined gain of 1.7 million millennials.
By 2010 62% of this key age cohort lived in the South or West compared to just 59% in 2000. Clearly the bulk of new consumer spending by this important family-forming and home-buying age group is going to happen in the South and West.
The resulting increase in business activity in those two regions is likely to mean more job openings in retailing and service industries. That may draw even more young people from the Northeast and Midwest, continuing the pattern of the past decade and leaving those two regions with an increasingly older population.
The chart above shows that millennials aged 25 to 34 outnumber pre-boomers aged 65 or older in the South and West, but the reverse is true in both the Northeast and Midwest regions. In some places a loss of young adults is not viewed as a problem because it's thought that might reduce local taxes for public schools. But a long-term loss of millennials has dire economic consequences that may be irreversible. We'll talk about which states are winning and losing next week.