Millennials on the move: Analyzing Toledo's appeal for younger residents

Published: Apr. 30, 2019 at 4:19 PM EDT
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Over the last decade, the Toledo metro area has seen a net population decline of about 10,000 people -- and has been on the downward trend for nearly a half-century, since 1970 -- but one demographic seems to be bucking that trend.

A study by the National Association of Realtors, using U.S. Census data, shows Toledo ranks 8th in the nation for millennials on the move last year. 69% of recent movers to the Glass City are in their 20s and 30s, a figure that matches the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim market -- and even exceeds those of cities like Boston and San Francisco.

Realtors like Jody Zink say housing affordability was a major factor for Toledo's spot on the list.

"In Chicago, for example, $30,000 will buy you a parking space," Zink remarked. "$30,000 in Toledo can renovate a kitchen or get you into a different school district."

Being a college town helps matters, with many students taking up residence locally after graduation -- but it's a race against time to essentially replace the number of people from older demographics, leaving Toledo for warmer climes.

"A lot of our clients are downsizing, they're moving further south, and this is making way for a lot of those millennials to come in," Zink offered. "[Millennials] are such a cost-conscious group, and they know that their dollar's going to go further here. They've got all of these options, and it's not going to cost them as much to do the same things they could do in bigger cities."

Zink and others are hoping a revitalized downtown core, combined with a lower cost of living, can convince future generations they'll do better in Toledo.