Living in Charlotte 2016: Views on Housing, Transportation, and Community

Report by Diane Gavarkavich
November 2016

UNC Charlotte Urban Institute   (Charlotte)

This report presents the findings from a study by the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute for ULI Charlotte, a District Council of the Urban Land Institute, a national nonprofit group that focuses on urban planning and real estate development. The online survey, administered in August 2016, drew 2,984 responses from residents of Mecklenburg and seven contiguous counties: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union counties, and Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.

The study looked in particular at preferences by generation, focusing primarily on Millennials and Baby Boomers and found some commonalities among all generations, and some notable differences. For example:

  • Members of the Millennial generation (ages 18 to 35) are more interested than older generations in housing that’s closer to work and school. Among Millennials, 86 percent said proximity to work and school is desirable or critical in choosing their next neighborhood. That compares to just 50 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • Millennials are more interested than older generations in the availability of public transit. This was important to 25 percent of young Millennials (ages 18 to 24), compared to 12 percent of Baby Boomers.
  • More Millennials – 56 percent – think of themselves as “city people” than do older generations. Only 31 percent of Millennials consider themselves “suburban people,” compared to an even split of 42 percent “city people” and 42 percent “suburban people” among older groups.
  • All ages agree in wishing for better bicycle amenities. Nearly all of the 1,580 respondents with bicycles – 88 percent, and 93 percent of the Millennials with bikes – want to bike more. And 74 percent said they’d bicycle more if they were separated from motor traffic by a physical barrier.