Hungry for food, fun, diversity and public transport, Millennials have strong ideas when it comes to choosing where they want to live, as Natalia Rimell reports.

There has been much research into the Millennial. Surveys suggest the top ranking cities, according to people born between the early 80s and mid-late 90s (the exact birth years of Millennials are in itself a topic of debate), are those that provide broad opportunities.

Top Cities
A 2018 survey by — a worldwide aggregator website for furnished apartments — found that of 110 cities, Millennials ranked all round top cities Berlin (Germany), Montreal (Canada), London (UK), Amsterdam (Netherlands) and Toronto in Canada as their top five.

Categories included in the study included Business Ecosystem (employment, startup and tourist scores), The Essentials (including housing, food, university and transport scores), Openness (including personal freedom and choice, and immigration tolerance) and Recreation (nightlife, beer and festival ratings).


Auckland sits in pole position in the survey in the Immigration Tolerance category, scoring a clear 10, and ranked 28th overall.

Wellington is ranked at 87, with Christchurch just behind in 88th place.

The survey suggests Millennials aren't merely looking for short-lived fun fads from their cities; they are looking at the bigger picture and longer-term opportunities.

Berlin was ranked number one with high scores across the Recreation section (as one might have expected), but also for its openness (scoring 9.7 out of 10 for being LGBT friendly and 8.4 for Immigration Tolerance).

This is the second year in a row Nestpick has surveyed Millennials across the globe and this year they say they've "delved deeper into what millennials truly care about.

"For instance, although they often garner negative press for their perceived sense of entitlement and apathy, most Millennials actually care more about housing and human rights than partying."

What is apparent, however, is that Millennials have itchy feet. With the ever-increasing availability and ease of global travel, they no longer see the need to "settle" in one place and are willing to relocate at the drop of a hat for more enticing opportunities overseas.

Nestpick summarises: "Digitally native, entrepreneurial and well travelled, millennials are not afraid to relocate halfway across the world for the right opportunities and experiences."

So what will they move for?

According to a 2016 survey by Abodo, a United States housing search engine, the top five qualities Millennials want from their cities are:

1. A thriving job market, 2. Affordable rent, 3. Affordable home prices, 4. Parks or hiking trails, 5. Local restaurants (non-chain). Just missing out on the top five is Quality Pizza in 6th place.

Also featuring in the Top 20 Qualities are ethnic food, green/ farmers markets and local coffee shops, so food and beverages play a large part in what Millennials are seeking.

Among the list of things this group want from their cities; walkability, quality public transport, LGBTQ friendly, concert or music venues, movie theatres and a nearby beach, lake or river. In 20th position is a local college or university.

Affordability lists four things a city must have in order to attract Millennials, based on evidence in cities where Millennials are rife: 1. Accessibility, 2. Cultural Attractions, 3. Affordability, 4. Entrepreneurship and Technology. Its findings show a whopping 66 per cent of this age group voted for high-quality transport as a top factor in deciding where to live. But they want a plethora of low-cost options.

The website also highlights the importance of cultural attractions which incorporate anything from "sports, food, music, or art" and spend an average of US$21 (NZ$31) more a month eating out than those not in the age bracket, with 50 per cent of them referring to themselves as "foodies".

"Another important attraction for Millennials is the prominence of a music and entertainment scene.

Ranging from music festivals to beer gardens or sporting events to art galleries, a variety of entertainment channels is not only expected — it's required."

Homes and Housing
Lifestyle and homes go hand-in-hand for the Millennial and they want their abodes to be not only close to their jobs, but easily accessible with copious amenities nearby, as well as being in close range of cultural options. again summarises what these Millennial boasting cities will have: "low unemployment rates, affordable rents and modest home prices".

The Deloitte Millennial Survey 2018 had more than 10,000 Millennial participants from across the globe over 36 countries. More than 1800 Gen Z (those born between the mid late 90s and early 2000s) also took part in the survey, With a focus on business and on their desires for their future careers, the report shows that there is a lack of loyalty from Millennials in the workforce.

Most don't expect to see through five more years with their current employer.

In order for Millennials to stick around they want to see evidence of employer's corporate responsibilities in action — said in past surveys to be a key driver in Millennials choosing their employers — as well as diversity and flexibility alongside the opportunity to develop and improve their skills.

Deloitte's overview sums up what it takes to hold on to Millennial employees "Good pay and positive corporate cultures are most likely to attract both Millennials and Gen Z, but the keys to keeping them happy are diversity, inclusion, and flexibility." and both support the importance of business and employment opportunities, with the former claiming 54 per cent "either want to start a business or have already started one." states the importance of "the startup ecosystem; attracting those hungry for quick progression and exciting opportunities", which is supported in the survey.

Those cities seen as having favourable start-up scores and employment score featured high in the overall rankings, notably, Berlin (at pole position), London (3rd), Toronto (5th) and NYC (8th). San Francisco and Beijing were rated highly for their business opportunities and came in 13th and 49th, respectively. Auckland sits in 31st place with its Employment Score and 44th for Startup.

Launched in late October 2017,the dockless, single-geared Onzo bikes have been on our streets for just over a year.

There are now about 1500 available in and around the city.

Following the initial three-month trial, Auckland Council agreed that the bikes could remain as an additional, congestion-easing option for commuters and visitors alike. When they first appeared safety was part ofthe process and helmets were provided, butthese have since been phased out.

There was less publicity over safety with Onzo bikes (than Lime) butthere have been headlines about the more unusual places they have been abandoned, including Mt Eden's crater, creeks and even trees, spurring the Facebook page "Onzos in weird places".

Lime introduced 600 e-scooters to Auckland on October 15, a little less than a year since the launch of the Onzo bike scheme, and fast became a talking point among Aucklanders and a frequent feature of news channels, with much of the focus being around the vehicles' safety, or lack there of.

The 'Lime Grand Prix' in late October, after the scooters were released onto Auckland's streets. Photo / Michael Craig
The 'Lime Grand Prix' in late October, after the scooters were released onto Auckland's streets. Photo / Michael Craig

The scooters can reach speeds of 27km an hour, but have been reported to go as fast as 37km downhill.

The use of the scooters without a helmet is a safety concern for many.

Since the Lime launch there have been a reported 150 ACC claims for injuries caused in e-scooter accidents across Auckland and Christchurch, where 400 of the scooters were launched. Lime is on a three-month trial with Auckland Council and has paid a little over $3300 for a licence of 1000 scooters.

Auckland Council has responded to the safety concerns by introducing a series of footpath stickers and large posters around Auckland's streets in a campaign to encourage safe scooting — at a cost of $10,000 — ands hoping to introduce a speed limit, requirements to wear helmets and police reinforcement.

Auckland mayor Phil Goff said: "At the moment I am working with Auckland Transport and the first thing I think as a matter of common sense, is you might be able physically to ride the scooter at 25km/h on the footpath — but that is just not on," He said the idea was to encourage safe scooting. "This is not a toy. It is a means of transportation and it needs to be treated with respect.

"That is why I think while we have a three-month trial, let's get in early and send some messages — even before we seek to put in place any regulatory change that we might want the Government to make."

Though not everyone is as concerned about the safety of the electric vehicles; a "Lime Scooter Grand Prix" was held soon after Lime's launch in late October and saw eight willing competitors enter the race, organised by Chapel Bar in Ponsonby.

Competitors Onzo and Wave are also due to launch their own scooter schemes towards the end of the year.

Auckland's youngest councillor's view

Richard Hills talks to Tim McCready about his ambition for the city's future.

As Auckland's "millennial" councillor, what are you most passionate about achieving for the city?

I am passionate about continuing to transform this city for all people, celebrating diversity and inclusion, building better public transport, making sure our streets and communities are safe for walking, cycling and scootering and making it an interesting and enjoyable place to be though arts, culture, sports and events. All while bringing more people into the decision-making process and understanding what people want— kids to older people.

When you're out talking to younger people, what do they want to see in their Auckland?

As the youngest councillor, younger people contact me all the time saying they want a city that functions well but they also want one that is exciting.

We have to ensure we deal with housing, transport, climate change and water quality, while at the same time funding and encouraging awesome things to be happening so people are proud to live here and enjoy it— despite all the challenges.

Do you use the new shared transport options? What do you think they do for Auckland?

I bus from home [Auckland's North Shore] to work as much as I can, I will cycle when we finally have Skypath and safer cycling options from my home to work. I walk in between meetings, but use Lime scooters in the city centre if I am running late as it's easy, saves heaps of time and is cheaper than taxis, Uber or Zoomy. I drive if I have meetings in many places around the city and if I will be out until really late. We need to make sure our transport system is easy for all trips and all times of the day— it will take time and money, but we are getting there and I am proud of the direction we are heading.