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Fewer young people are living in LA, and high housing costs are likely to blame

LA’s population is aging a bit faster, as young people leave the city for more affordable metros elsewhere in the country, according to a new report from Apartment List. The real estate listings website looked at Census data of 18- to 34-year olds from 2005 to 2015 and found the number of millennials living in Los Angeles dropped 7.4 percent in that time.

That’s a significant decline. It puts LA near last, or 48th, out of 50 U.S. metro areas in millennial population growth.

Andrew Woo, Apartment List's director of data science, told LA Weekly that the high cost of rent combined with LA’s sluggish incomes might be deterring young people from living here. Many residents are paying well over the recommended 30 percent of their income on rent each month, recent studies have shown.

Beyond renting, "Fewer millennials are settling in L.A.,” said Woo. There’s a lot working against millennials aiming to put down roots in Los Angeles.

Apartment List found that Los Angeles’ millennial homeownership rate had fallen 7.3 percent since 2005 (close to the nationwide average of 7.4 percent), and a report from online loan marketplace LendingTree earlier this year asserted that those young people who do manage to buy a home are faced with some of the steepest mortgages in the country—not easy to stay on top of, considering that Apartment List also found that median incomes in LA have dipped .6 percent.

Meanwhile, populations of young people are booming in “affordable” metros such as Houston and Austin, which saw double-digit growth in their millennial population. Apartment List says the jobs sectors of both cities saw “significant income growth.”

Apartment List’s findings in many ways echo a report out earlier this month from home and rental listings site Trulia that stated that expensive metros like Los Angeles were losing people, especially those under 40 and on the lower end of the income bracket, due to high costs of living.

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