NJ Future Says Policy Changes Needed To Stop State From Losing Millennials

Sep 28, 2017

Tim Evans says some towns have neighborhoods that millennials find attractive.

A land-use policy organization says towns need to make some changes so millennials don't continue to leave New Jersey.

Tim Evans with New Jersey Future says the 22-to-34-year-old age group wants to live where work, stores, affordable housing, and recreational opportunities are all within walking distance.

"If you're a place like Hoboken or Jersey City or Newark that has the kind of development in place that millennials are looking for, your solution is really just to try to add more housing to accommodate them. It's a little trickier if you're an auto oriented suburb and you don't already have a downtown, how do you create one?"

Evans says Robbinsville and Plainsboro succeeded by using vacant land to build a town center from scratch. Voorhees and Somerdale rehabilitated malls to add housing.

Evans believes the biggest thing towns and cities can do to attract millennials is increase their housing diversity.

“So that you’re not just building McMansions. You have to start looking to build smaller attached housing, apartment buildings, single family homes on smaller lots, the kind of housing that a young adult just starting out in the workforce can afford.”

Evans expects the housing in car-dependent suburban areas will become less expensive because of a drop in demand.

“Whether that induces the millennial generation to move to those places, I don’t know. They’re already not moving there. Whether they change their mind and decide the price point is more important than the millennial package they’re looking for remains to be seen.”