(MARYVILLE, Mo.) Millennials are moving to Maryville more than almost every other city in the country, and those who already live there say they aren't surprised.
Data from a new survey released by the U.S. Census Bureau says 13.3% of people who live in Maryville and are between the ages of 24 and 35 and moved there in 2017.
Jasmine Walker, 26, the owner of Brown’s Shoes on 1406 S. Main St., is one of those millennials who moved to Maryville in 2017 from Ohio.
“It’s easy to get involved if you want to get involved, it’s easy to start stuff if you want to start stuff here,” said Walker, “(In) bigger cities it’s harder to get your foot in the door.”
Walker was part of the Brown’s Shoe Fit training program. Upon completing the program she had the choice of where she wanted to go and ended up selecting Maryville.
“It’s important to me that I am in a good community, that’s of the utmost importance because for you to be able to live there and start a life there and really feel like you are making a difference there you have to mesh well, and it was a good fit.”
As a new business owner in Maryville, Walker met Lily White, the executive director of the Maryville Chamber of Commerce, who moved back to Maryville herself in 2016.
“Millennials were told you can run the world and you can do all of these things but in larger communities, they are being told to sit down and wait their turn but here they are being told they can run the world and no one is stopping them,” said White.
After graduating from Northwest Missouri State University, White lived in New York City and Kansas City before returning home to Maryville.
“I went to an alumni event and I ran into some old bosses,” said White, “When an opportunity came back to work (here) came up, I jumped at the opportunity.”
White says economic opportunity played a role in why she has chosen to stay in Maryville, but she says it was the sense of community that truly called her back “home.”
“I am 26 and own a three-bedroom, three-bathroom house, with a third of an acre for my dog. Of all my millennial friends, four of the six of us own homes and it feels really cool to own a house and have that,” said White “When I moved here I had people coming over and bring house plants and they were asking questions about my family and how I was doing, that didn't happen in Kansas City or New York.”
White says that's why she's not surprised why Maryville topped the list.
"Here you are about 4 miles away from things in any direction so you aren't just figuratively neighbors you're literally neighbors so it feels like a team and it feels like a family," said White, "I hear a lot that we're (millennials) are always on our phones and that we're always on social media, and some of that is true, but I think for us it does feel a bit fabricated it feels it feels a little bit fake when you're just liking stuff on Facebook but we do like to feel connected to our communities."
Maryville city manager Greg McDanel says community initiatives have to lead to the type of environment for newcomers.
“We’ve been building something special here in Maryville and Nodaway County for a long time and I think that listing is a reflection of where we are headed as a community,” he said. “We are a progressive community and that's because we want to keep getting better as we move forward.”
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