Young adults in Greater Boston are happy, but want more housing and jobs, survey shows

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Young adults in the Greater Boston area are satisfied overall with their lives in the area. But they’re worried about housing costs and the supply of good-quality jobs, according to a survey released Monday by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce.

The results of the survey, which included 20- to 30-year-olds in Essex, Middlesex, Norfolk, Plymouth and Suffolk Counties, showed that 89% of respondents were satisfied with their day-to-day lives, regardless of race and gender. However, about 25% said they were planning to leave the area in the next five years.

“Our young residents are not only the future of the workforce, but also our current leaders and champions of our small businesses, downtowns and workplaces,” James Rooney, the president of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Foundation, said in a statement.

“It is incumbent upon us to elevate the voices of young residents who are contributing to our local vibrancy and civic fabric while navigating significant hurdles,” Rooney said.

According to the survey responses, the most important factors influencing the decision to stay in Greater Boston were job availability (87%), the cost of rent (83%) and the ability to buy a home (78%). Similarly, 66% of those surveyed said housing affordability should be prioritized by local leaders, 39% said the availability of quality jobs and 35% said wages.

Only 18% of people surveyed owned their own home, with 42% renting and 27% staying with relatives for free.

Women aged 28 to 30, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) residents, and those working in management positions were more likely to say they planned to stay in Greater Boston.

Black women and LGBTQ+ people were more likely to say they planned to leave. They also were more likely to say cultural and racial diversity played an important role in that decision.

People surveyed who said they were dissatisfied with Greater Boston or planned to leave were also more likely to say they had difficulty with transportation in the area. This was especially true in Suffolk County, where the city of Boston is located, where 87% said efficient transportation and mobility were at least somewhat important.

Non-white survey respondents were most likely to say they used public transportation, with 52% of AAPI residents and 42% of Black residents saying they rode the MBTA subway lines regularly, and 32% of Black residents and 37% of Latino residents using the bus regularly.

Recent studies have shown that Massachusetts is among the states with the most outbound migration. A study released in January by United Van Lines put the state at seventh-highest outmigration in 2023, the only New England state on the most-moved-out-of list, MassLive previously reported.

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