Heterogeneous residential preferences among millennials and members of generation X in California: A latent-class approach

The millennial generation, the cohort born from 1981 to 1996, lives in large cities or denser parts of metropolitan areas more than preceding generations did at the same age. Studies have theorized that a combination of temporary economic hardship, long-term societal changes, and changing preferences and attitudes have been responsible for Millennials’ unique residential choices. This study examines a less-explored question about the presence and significance of heterogeneity in residential preferences across and within generations. In doing so, this study employs a latent-class choice model on a commuter subsample of Millennials and members of Generation X (n = 729) of the California Millennials Dataset, which collected a rich set of variables on various dimensions in Fall 2015. Using randomly-generated unlabeled choice sets at the US Census block group level, this study identifies three latent classes. The Younger, Pro-Urban Class (53% of the authors' dataset; 66% of its millennial cases and 42% of its Gen Xers) behaves as the stereotypical Millennials in popular media, preferring urban amenities; the Affluent, Highly-Educated Class (32% of the authors' dataset; 25% of its millennials and 38% of its Gen Xers) appears to pursue lifestyles and high socioeconomic status over homeownership or good school districts; and the Middle-Class Homeowner Class (15% of the authors' dataset; 8% of its millennial cases and 21% of its Gen Xers) presents more traditional family-oriented suburban lifestyles. After the examination of shares of the three classes by age and neighborhood type, the authors provide suggestions for future research and effective planning responses.


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  • Accession Number: 01722873
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Nov 19 2019 2:09PM