For proof, he points to results from a survey prepared for CEOs for Cities, a Chicago-based U.S. network of urban leaders. The survey involved 1,000 college-educated people aged 25 to 34, and it found that two-thirds of respondents decided where they wanted to live first, then went to that city and found a job afterward.
“They operate on a theory that if it doesn’t work out, they’ll just go somewhere else,” Mr. Jones says. “With my generation, it was all about, ‘Where do I want to go work for 30 years?’ That’s not at all what we’re seeing with this generation.“
As always in these discussions, the vital but unacknowledged data involves class. How can you move to a city and only then seek a job? Only if you have money in the bank. Even if you’re crashing on someone’s sofa for a while you still have to have money to buy your food, to put down a deposit on an apartment. This money may come from your previous job in your previous city, but it many (most?) cases it will come from Mom and Dad, who are willing to support you in your journey of self-discovery.
But what if Mom and Dad don’t have any money? And what if your current job only pays you enough for you to just get by? Then you’re going to stay where you are, and only move when to another city when you land a job there (which is hard to achieve long-distance).
The “mobility of the younger generation” is really just the “mobility of the wealthiest 20% of the younger generation.” The rest of their cohort lacks these options. It would be nice if someone remembered this from time to time.