Growth of cities in the United States has been fueled by young adults (up to age 35) moving to find new economic opportunities and to be a part of a larger cohort of other young aspirants who are like them. The millennials are the most mobile out of all age groups, particularly if not tied down by children and/or underwater mortgages. Because of this growth, large urban cores in the largest of American cities are seeing a population resurgence.
Major Texas cities — Houston, Austin, Dallas and San Antonio — are still on the rise and rank second, fifth, sixth, and ninth, respectively by youth migration. Austin, particularly, stands out with its overall population having grown 26% from 2000 to 2012. Austin attracts the “creative class” that many large cities, and small ones, strive for.
Despite the tremendous growth in apartments and condos, there appears to be an on-going demand for such housing —possibly attracting one in every five newly imported workers who enter these large urban gateways. But, do these dwellings attract millennials with children? Dallas I.S.D. has attracted up to 7,000 of the young millennial cohort in the Uptown area — many of whom profess the desire to remain when they have children. However, it is questionable whether they will stay without ready access to diapers in the middle of the night or of grassy play spaces outside their back doors.
In sum, suburban school districts in Texas are continuing to attract the millennials who can afford to buy housing units. And, these housing units are very rarely in condos or townhomes in urban centers.
On the other hand, the urban cores of Texas have, since the downturn began, begun pulling record numbers of young families with children into rental units. Thus, mature urban school districts are seeing a rebirth in public school enrollment. This is, typically, not due to “pull factors,” such as improved quality of life characteristics in urban centers. But, rather, the enrollment growth in mature school districts tends to be due to a “push factor” i.e., the lack of readily available mortgages for a large proportion of the young millennial population with children. These parents have been pushed out of desirable suburban school districts until mortgages are more easily obtainable — and pushed into affordable rental units in older urban core settings.
(Sources: The Dallas Morning News,October 26, 2012; USA Today, May 23, 2013; Martin Fein, Houston Chronicle, June 15, 2014)