Millennials, those born from 1981 to 1997, have now surpassed the Baby Boomers as America’s largest living generation, according to a report by Pew Research Center.
Onslow County, according to a Realty Trac study that looked at 473 counties nationwide, had the highest percentage of them: 37.6 percent.
And they’re having an impact.
Realty Trac included millennials in their five-part series looking at the best U.S. markets for buying single-family rentals. Millennials are now in the age group of 19-to-35 years old, which means many of them are reaching life milestones like getting married and having kids, according to the study. Eventually, those millennials may move into single family homes and, in the future, rent those homes out.
So how are these millennials shaping Onslow County?
Millennials are the target generation for homebuyers in Onslow County, according to Jaime Dorn, the owner of Harrison Dorn Realty.
“A lot of people buying houses are in their 20s,” she said.
Knowing that, Dorn said many of the advertisements she makes for single family homes are geared toward millennials. She tries to show that she and her agency are laid back and fun in the ads and that the house she’s showcasing is close to entertainment venues, good for a starter home.
Are millennials are growing the local economy?
“Absolutely,” Dorn said.
Not only are they buying new homes, she said, they’re buying furniture to furnish those homes. Plus groceries and clothes and paying taxes here and attending events here — it’s obvious millennials bring a lot to the table, Dorn said.
Kristen Schuette, the tourism director at the Jacksonville Onslow Chamber of Commerce, said she absolutely keeps millennials in mind when she’s planning events, festivals and attractions in the area.
“We have a lot that’s already going to attract multiple demographics,” she said.
That includes the beach, of course, and Oktoberfest brings in crowds of all ages, she said.
Then there’s ATV racing that’s more fun for a younger crowd, Schuette said, and escape games, like Cracked It! in Jacksonville, are focused on what millennials love most: entertainment and memories.
“With the internet these days, your attention is so small,” Schuette said. “You want to be entertained the whole way through.”
With that in mind, Schuette said food and beverage tours are becoming more popular. Millennials want to pay for an experience, and these events give it to them.
Millennials don’t want to just go to something, Schuette said. They want to be a part of it.