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Title:Residential location choices of millennials: Evidence from the urbanized area of Chicago
Author(s):Wang, Yiyuan
Advisor(s):Lee, Bumsoo
Contributor(s):Greenlee, Andrew
Department / Program:Urban & Regional Planning
Discipline:Urban Planning
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Location choice
Discrete choice model
Urban revival
New urbanism
Abstract:Millennials, born between 1985 and 2000, are portrayed as a generation of liberal urbanists in mainstream media. Many planners believe that Millennials are leading the re-urbanization of U.S. cities, reversing the long-lasting trend of suburbanization. However, empirical evidence on Millennials’ travel behavior and location choices is mixed, with many studies suggesting that the urban-revival led by Millennials is more likely to be transitory. This thesis investigates the mobility patterns of Millennial and Generation X (born between 1965 and 1985) households in the Chicago Urbanized Area between 2006 and 2015. I also examine how young adults’ preferences for urban built environment shift with their stage of life while controlling for other neighborhood characteristics and individual household characteristics. Compared to previous literature, this research adopted an innovative data source, InfoUSA Historical Consumer database. It contains rich information of households’ mobility patterns, which allows us to test competing hypotheses on Millennials’ location choices. Moreover, this thesis fills the gap in current literature by operationalizing a rich set of built environment factors that reflect different dimensions of urbanism. Two analysis methods are adopted in this paper. I first cluster neighborhoods in the research area based on built environment characteristics and visualize the mobility flows of young adult households. Then I conduct a discrete choice model to statistically test what location factors affect the location choices of Millennial households and Generation X households. This research finds that: 1) Contrary to what has been portrayed in mainstream media about Millennials, they don’t differ greatly from prior generations in terms of location choice. In the urbanized area of Chicago, the re-concentration of Millennials in the central city has not offset the trend of suburbanization. 2) The discrete choice model result supports the idea that Millennials’ location choices are driven by their economic constraints instead of their lifestyle preferences. The housing market characteristics, rather than the built environment factors, play greater roles in driving Millennials’ location choices. 3) Life stage and economic status greatly affect Millennials’ location preferences. Millennials, when they are young, poor and single, are more likely to reside in the central city. However, when they step into full adulthood and gain more economic power, their behavior resembles that of Generation X. 4) Neighborhood amenity level is found to be very powerful in attracting households, especially high-income households. And the effect is detected in both Millennial and Generation X households.
Issue Date:2018-04-27
Rights Information:Copyright 2018 Yiyuan Wang
Date Available in IDEALS:2018-09-04
Date Deposited:2018-05

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