Report: New Orleans receives 'D' grade on 'Best Metros for Millennials' list

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CRISTIANO BETTA / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0
  • CRISTIANO BETTA / CREATIVE COMMONS 2.0

In a new report from the website Apartment List that surveyed 75 U.S. metro areas, New Orleans ranked near the bottom of the nation's "Best Metros for Millennials."

According to the analysis, New Orleans was ranked 61st out of 75 possible areas studied based on scores related to its job market, affordability and livability. The city's worst ranking was its livability score (based on a rental satisfaction survey of factors including weather, crime, parks, nightlife and opportunities to date and make friends), where it ranked 62nd out of 75 areas. The New Orleans job market ranked 60th out of 75 areas.

Metro areas that top the list include smaller cities such as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Provo, Utah and Madison, Wisconsin; as well as Southern cities including Charleston, South Carolina and Houston.

"The top 10 metros are inland metros with relatively low rents, primarily located in the Midwest and South," report author Sydney Bennet wrote. "These metros offer millennials more than just affordable housing options. They also provide strong job markets and vibrant social scenes."

Though Southern cities were ranked highly overall, New Orleans compared poorly to the regional cities surveyed, especially on its job market rating. New Orleans received a lower jobs score than Houston; Austin, Texas; Oklahoma City; Omaha, Nebraska; Charleston, South Carolina; Virginia Beach, Virginia; Nashville, Tennessee; Raleigh, North Carolina; Baton Rouge; Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, South Carolina; Tampa, Florida; and Birmingham, Alabama.

As the report tells it, though many millennials imagine themselves in glamorous coastal hubs such as San Francisco or New York, the affordability challenges those cities' residents increasingly face may preclude a high quality of life for young residents, particularly for those who wish to own a home.

"Metros with booming job markets and high livability scores, including Washington, D.C., and Seattle, price out many millennials, with high rents and unattainable starter home prices," the report says.

In one bright spot, Apartment List ranked New Orleans in the top half of its affordability scores (32nd of 75 areas surveyed). But the city, which has experienced well-known housing and rental challenges in recent years, keeps making a poor overall showing on this type of birds'-eye-view analysis. A Brookings Institution report earlier this year ranked New Orleans dead last on its "prosperity metrics" analysis which assessed the economy and residents' standard of living. In an unpublished portion of a Forbes study of the country's 100 biggest cities provided to Gambit, the New Orleans-Metairie area appears near the bottom of its ranking of best cities for young professionals, based on slow job growth and low salaries for college grads.

Earlier this spring, the New Orleans Advocate reported for the first time since Hurricane Katrina and the federal floods, more people are leaving New Orleans than moving into it. But the city remains one of the country's most popular destinations for millennials to move to — an interesting contradiction, considering the drip-drip of reports outlining a poor outlook for young residents.

Correction: Due to an editing error, this article originally misstated New Orleans' overall ranking in this survey. The city was ranked 61st out 75 cities, not 60th.


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