Well, we all want to engage Millennials more and better, and Extension is no different. So let’s get a sense of their geographic distribution in the more urban parts of the state.

Nugget2The Nugget:

In most of Oregon’s metropolitan areas, you’ve got slightly higher odds of bumping into a Millennial in the central cities than in the suburbs, small towns, or rural areas. Only in Salem and Bend are you more likely to find a Millennial in the small towns of those metro areas than you are in the central cities, suburbs, or rural areas.

Evidence for the Nugget:

According to data for the 2008-2012 period from the American Community Survey, Millennials were concentrated at these percentages in the central cities, suburbs, small towns, and rural areas of Oregon’s major metropolitan areas:

Albany-Corvallis Millenials

Eugene-Salem Millennials

The data show that across all these metro areas, Millennials represented 1 in 5 to 2 in 5 members of the population in the central cities. Though this means they were still in the minority in these central cities, that representation is higher than the roughly 1 out of 7 people Millennials represented in the rural parts of these metro areas.

Of course, please note that in some of these metro areas there wasn’t much difference between the representation of Millennials in central cities and their representation in suburbs or small towns. In those areas, take that into consideration when you think about targeting and consider using a multi-geography approach.

Click here:  UrbanSuburbanRuralProfile_Methods_Etuk_20140905 for more information about how these geographies were defined and the estimates calculated.

Take-awayTake Aways:

Recruitment or outreach efforts directed at Millennials have to meet that population where it is, from a relevance perspective and from a geographic perspective. These data suggest directing those efforts, geographically, at the central cities of the state’s metropolitan areas. In these areas, any effort you make is more likely to reach a Millennial than an effort you put forth in a rural part of these metro areas.

When you meet a Millennial in one of these metro areas, ask them if they think they’ll move later on in life and where they’re hoping to move. Is it going to be the suburbs or rural areas eventually? This will help you get a sense of the future location of this age group. The fact that they’re now concentrated a bit more in central cities may just be a function of this part of their life-course — as they age they may gravitate towards the suburbs and rural areas like their parents (the Baby Boomers).

If you are trying to recruit or engage Millennials in the rural parts of these metro areas, try using a “hidden population” strategy like snowball recruitment (referral-based), facility-based recruitment (places where they tend to be), or time-location based recruitment (places where they tend to be at times they’re likely to be there).

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One thought on “Targeting Millennials in Metro Oregon? For now, focus on the central cities and sometimes, small towns.

  1. Great post, Lena. Thank you. We are finding that 30-something millennials are fast becoming a critical audience for degree completion programs online. (Time flies when you’re having fun!)


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