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Downtown Colorado Springs. Photo courtesy of Daniel Hoherd / Flickr via Creative Commons

Which Colorado City Is Seeing the Largest Growth of Millennials?

Hint: It's not Denver.

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Despite constantly being touted as a magnet for millennials—for better or worse—Denver is not attracting as many people from this generation as another Colorado city.

According to a new report from the Metropolitan Policy Program at the Brookings Institute, a D.C.-based public policy organization, Colorado Springs is the fastest-growing city for millennials in the U.S., just barely beating out the Mile High City, which came in third place.

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The report, The Millennial Generation: A Demographic Bridge to America’s Diverse Future, evaluated Census statistics pertaining to the country’s 75 million millennials (categorized as those born between 1981–1997). According to the findings, Colorado Springs surpassed 100 of the country’s largest metropolitan areas in millennial growth between 2010–2015, with an increase of 14.7 percent. The Springs ranked higher than bustling cities such as San Antonio (14.4 percent), Denver (12.8 percent), Orlando (12.7 percent), Honolulu (12.2 percent), and Austin (11.8 percent).

Denver’s Southern neighbor also ranks sixth in terms of metropolitan areas with the highest shares of millennials, at 26.4 percent. Conversely, Denver doesn’t even break the top 15 (although millennials are metro Denver’s largest generational group, according to a 2016 study by the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation).

The Brookings report also examines a variety of millennial characteristics, aside from the typical stereotypes (tech savvy, entitled, lazy hipsters). Distinctions like their heightened education attainment—more than one-third of all millennials have college degrees—slower-paced marriage rates, and increased racial and ethnic diversity are discussed and compared to those of the Baby Boomers, Generation X, and post-millennial generations. In terms of educational attainment, Colorado ranks as one of the top states in the U.S. for this age group, with Denver being noted as one of the top 10 metro areas for college graduates among millennials, with 46 percent. No wonder the Mile High City has been named a finalist for Amazon’s second headquarters.

While this comprehensive report makes millennials out to be more than just phone-obsessed, aimless, overly sensitive types, it also affirms that this age group is a large part of Colorado’s demographic makeup. As of 2015, this generation made up 24.8 percent of Colorado’s total population—the sixth highest in the U.S.

So whether it’s Denver or Colorado Springs, young adults—most of them sporting Patagonia puffy jackets and thick-rimmed glasses—are flocking to the Millennial, er, Centennial State.

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