Millennials Inside the Beltway

Millennials Inside the Beltway

Optimistic Urbanists

The results are in and the numbers are compelling. In partnership with ULI Washington, we present the results of an in-depth survey on the lifestyle choices and preferences of Millennials, also known as Gen-Y, inside the beltway. Led by Senior Principal Yolanda Cole while serving as ULI Washington Chair of Mission Advancement the survey reflects the responses of 1,344 DC-area Millennials.

Why Millennials?

Washington, DC has the 6th highest Millennial population in the country and this cohort currently makes up 38% of the DC area workforce. The ULI study was conducted to provide businesses, the real estate industry, and local jurisdictions with data to help craft strategies and policies to accommodate this population—and their families—as they age.

Survey Respondents

This was an opt-in survey, rather than a representative sampling of Gen Yers living inside the beltway. Qualtrics, a survey research firm, generated 693 responses from people born in 1978-1995 and living within specified zip codes inside the Beltway. Another 651 survey completions were originated by ULI’s public outreach efforts through social media, local blogs, news articles, apartment owners and developers who promoted to their tenants, and the participation of younger members of ULI, NAIOP, and other industry organizations.


of renters surveyed have roommates


would prefer to be living alone


will need to move outside the Beltway to find desired housing at an affordable price


willing to start families inside the Beltway

The Results

Among all respondents, half are receptive to raising children inside the Beltway (with many already doing so), and another 30% say “maybe” they would. Results demonstrate that while Millennials are interested in remaining inside the Beltway and express satisfaction with their current experiences doing so, preserving this population as it ages and expands with new family members will require major changes in housing development including solutions to create more affordable and attainable housing stock.

What's Next?

We have presented our findings to developers, DMPED, and the Department of Planning and continue to champion discussions about the policy change and housing product innovation needed to retain DC’s Millennial population as they start families.

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