Millennials Favor “Vacation Moves”

Apr 11, 2017 – If millennials recently moved in next door, they may not stay long. A new survey, conducted by Mayflower, shows two in five millennials have moved to a new city without the intention of staying permanently.

While millennials, defined as 18 to 35-year-olds, are infamous for flocking to popular destinations like San Francisco and Seattle, a new study by moving company Mayflower indicates they aren’t making these popular destinations permanent homes. According to the 2017 Mayflower Mover Insights Study which focused on millennial moving trends, two in five (41 percent) millennials are “vacation movers” – that is, they have moved to a new city without intending to settle down there permanently. Furthermore, more than half (53 percent) of millennials say they’re likely to make a temporary, or “vacation,” move in the next five years.

The study also found that about three-fourths (74 percent) of millennial movers relocated to a new city with a timeline in mind, meaning they had a plan to leave their vacation city in a certain timeframe. The top reasons for making a vacation move are both practical and adventure-seeking: to work at a new job (40 percent), for a new lifestyle or experience (30 percent) and to find a new job (26 percent).

map showing the top millennial moving destinations discovered in the 2017 study: San Francisco, Calif. Los Angeles, Calif. Washington, D.C. Seattle, Wash. Chicago, Ill. New York, N.Y. Dallas, Texas Denver, Colo. Houston, Texas Atlanta, Ga.

“Our Mayflower agents across the country are moving millennials as they explore new cities, jobs and experiences, but our research shows that this generation does have plans to eventually settle down and choose a city as their permanent home,” said Melissa Sullivan, director, marketing communications, Mayflower.

“The findings of this year’s Mayflower Mover Insights study reinforce what our agents are hearing every day – millennials are excited about their new homes, jobs and adventures.”

Where millennials move could be a result of where they were raised. The study found that millennials raised in urban areas move farther away from home as opposed to those raised in small towns or rural communities.

Thirty-one percent of millennials raised in urban areas moved 200 to 499 miles from their last home compared to only 14 percent from rural communities. “Millennials are a generation of what I call ‘adventure movers.’ Their motivations for moving are influenced by a sense of adventure, making these moves relatively short-term” said Dr. Jeffrey Arnett, Research Professor in the Department of Psychology at Clark University. “More than any generation before them, millennials have defined their 20s as a period of freedom and instability. This flexibility allows millennials to make moves in search of new job opportunities or adventures, even if they don’t plan to stay in the long run.”

While vacation movers aren’t looking to settle down yet, they may soon find a permanent home:

  • 87 percent of millennials plan to either settle down in their current city or find a city to live in permanently.
  • More than three-fourths (78 percent) of millennials plan to settle down around age 35.
  • One in four (27 percent) millennials say they’ll have a permanent home before age 30.
  • Millennials surveyed said the top reasons for settling down are getting a job they love (28 percent), getting their dream house or apartment (19 percent) and getting married (17 percent).
  • To find a city to call home, millennials are looking for job opportunities (66 percent), an affordable cost of living (60 percent) and good housing options (58 percent).

“I moved to Chicago shortly after graduate school for a career opportunity. While I never envisioned being there long term, living in a big city opened up unique opportunities and experiences,” said Joe Michael, a millennial who recently moved to St. Louis. “My wife and I are both from the St. Louis area, so while our time in Chicago was exciting, we didn’t see it as a place to settle down. We want to raise a family in a similar environment that we grew up in, and we are excited to begin a new chapter in St. Louis.”

The study also found millennials continue to be drawn to urban centers, with 69 percent currently residing in a city or an inner suburb near the city. The age group with the highest percentage of respondents living in an urban environment is 30 to 35-year-olds, with 81 percent currently living in a big city or an inner suburb near the city.

So what cities are attracting millennials more than others? According to moves completed by Mayflower between January and December 2016, San Francisco, Calif., is the hottest moving destination for millennials, followed closely by Los Angeles, Calif., and Washington, D.C.

  1. San Francisco, Calif.
  2. Los Angeles, Calif.
  3. Washington, D.C.
  4. Seattle, Wash.
  5. Chicago, Ill.
  6. New York, N.Y.
  7. Dallas, Texas
  8. Denver, Colo.
  9. Houston, Texas
  10. Atlanta, Ga.

Mayflower, America’s most recognized and trusted moving company, moves approximately 55,000 families each year and has 300 agents across the country.

Survey Background and Methodology

Respondents to the survey were selected from Research Now’s consumer panel to reflect a distribution of the millennial population, ages 18-35 years old. Respondents were also selected by regional geographic distribution (South, West, Northeast, Midwest) to reflect U.S. demographics. Without knowledge of Mayflower’s sponsorship, 1,000 respondents completed the survey.

Editor’s note: Additional survey data is available by request. If interested, please contact Melissa Sullivan at 636-349-2508 or

About Mayflower

Mayflower is America’s most recognized and trusted moving company. With headquarters in suburban St. Louis, Mayflower maintains a network of 300 affiliated agencies. For more information about Mayflower Transit and its services, visit or find us on Facebook.

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