10 Best Neighborhoods for Generation Y

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Although it’s hard to paint a picture of 80 million people with a broad brush, social scientists have determined that, when it comes to choosing a home base, Generation Y – those born between 1980 and 2000 – have particular ideas about where to live, distinct from previous generations.

Accounting for 25 percent of the US population, Gen Yers put a premium on proximity to public transportation, sustainable communities, walkable access to areas of interest, and social interaction with other millennials.

With that in mind, we’ve selected the top 10 places for Gen Yers to live, focusing our attention on the factors they value most. To compile our list, we analyzed our Context®  Walkability™, Bikeability, and Public Transit Scores to identify neighborhoods that reduce drive time and overall carbon footprint. We also reviewed our Dining & Nightlife dataset to consider popular bars and clubs.

Finally, we appended PRIZM segments to discover which neighborhoods have a high concentration of PRIZM’s Young Achievers: Young Digerati, Bohemian Mix, and Urban Achievers. These groups are all “Gen Y” in nature: Young Digerati – ages 25-44, tech savvy, highly educated, affluent, and ethnically mixed; Urban Achievers – ages <35, college educated, ethnically diverse, bilingual; and Bohemian Mix – ages <55, mobile, early adopters with liberal lifestyles.

*All images courtesy of Google Street View.

East Village, NYC - With its vibrant nightlife and car-optional culture, the entire island of Manhattan entices many of the young and hip. But the East Village in particular is one of the best neighborhoods for Gen Yers, with a perfect score across all our categories: Walkability, Bikeability, Public Transit, Bars, and Clubs. PRIZM Segments: Bohemian Mix, Urban Achievers

SoMa, San Francisco – This popular San Francisco neighborhood is akin to NYC’s SoHo: a bohemian enclave with art galleries and loft-style condos. Walkability and Bikeability are especially high, at 5.0 and 4.9 respectively. PRIZM Segments: Young Digerati, Bohemian Mix

Center City East, Philadelphia – This neighborhood is the most dense section of the city and is home to City Hall, the Convention Center, and Chinatown. Walkability and Bikeability get 5.0’s here, but the area’s Public Transit score is slightly less than SoMa’s (4.7 vs. 4.8). PRIZM Segments: Bohemian Mix, Young Digerati

River North, Chicago – The River North neighborhood may be small, but it’s bursting with art galleries, boutiques, and Chicago’s highest concentration of restaurants. With a Bars score of 4.8, this compact area offers a hopping nightlife. PRIZM Segments: Young Digerati, Bohemian Mix

Logan Circle – Shaw, Washington, DC – Named after the traffic circle at its center, Logan Circle – Shaw is almost entirely residential, offering a mix of Victorian and contemporary houses, condos, duplexes, and apartments. Because of its highly residential nature, it scores lower in the nightlife area, but it earns a solid 4.9 in Bikeability and 4.8 in Walkability. PRIZM Segments: Young Digerati, Bohemian Mix

Downtown Baltimore – This bustling area is both a commercial and a residential hub of the quaintly nicknamed “Charm City.” A solid Walkability score (4.8) makes it attractive to PRIZM segments Urban Achievers and Bohemian Mix.

French Quarter, New Orleans – It’s no wonder that New Orleans is known as the “Big Easy”: in the storied French Quarter, it’s easy living when it comes to Walkability (4.7) and – surprise! – Bars (4.5). The stunning and historic eighteenth-century Spanish-Colonial buildings in The Quarter are home to restaurants, bars, galleries, clubs, and diverse housing options. PRIZM Segments: Urban Achievers, Bohemian Mix

LoDo, Denver – Denver’s original settlement, and therefore oldest neighborhood, LoDo is a mixed-use historic district. Known for its nightlife, LoDo serves as an example of success in urban reinvestment and revitalization. High Walkability (4.7) draws in PRIZM segments Young Digerati and Bohemian Mix.

Back Bay, Boston – Stately, Victorian Back Bay gets props for its architectural beauty, nightlife, shopping, and other amenities. Scores are 4.9 in Walkability and 4.0 in the Bars category. And it’s the only neighborhood on our list that appeals to all three applicable PRIZM segments: Urban Achievers, Young Digerati, and Bohemian Mix.

Belltown, Seattle – Just a few blocks north of Seattle’s rightfully famous Pike Place Market, Belltown explodes in the evenings with nightlife options and is considered one of the most “happening” areas of the city. Even better, it gets a perfect Walkability score of 5.0. PRIZM Segments: Bohemian Mix, Urban Achievers