A Cap, A Gown and An Empty Nest

Graduation Time is here! A lovely mix of caps and gowns, endings and new beginnings, tears of both joy and sadness. The feelings of relief and excitement, which are experienced by graduates; and their parents? While most graduates are looking forward, their parents are feeling a growing void.

The Twin Cities are home to one of the nation’s highest college graduation rates coupled with our abundance of well-regarded colleges and universities. Those graduates who were students native to the area most likely lived off-campus with their parents, or were in a couple hours’ drive of their childhood home. Now their parents are becoming true Empty Nesters.

With high median earnings and low poverty rates, as well as the highest employment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds in the country, newly minted graduates are calling Twin Cities ‘home’. This would be the cue to their parents to follow their dreams of getting out from Minnesota winters and moving to a Sun Belt state. But, this generation of Graduate Parents and Empty Nesters are Baby Boomers. And Baby Boomers never do the expected.


Boomers have discovered the great lifestyle and all things that city life in the Twin Cities has to offer. The biggest dream is to go into Minneapolis-St. Paul, score a wonderful place to live and start a new, exciting life. This is creating multi-generational competition for Twin City living. Some empty nesters are finding their biggest challenge is not selling their house, but finding a new place to live. This generation of baby boomers is hit very hard by the fact there is no inventory, and no inventory in the towns they want to stay in.

This is giving the generations on both sides of the graduation cap a bit of sticker shock. Especially opting to rent until they “find something” or feel “settled in” as rentals fill fast and rates keep rising. As of April, 2015, average apartment rent within 10 miles of Minneapolis, MN is $1130. One bedroom apartments in Minneapolis rent for $889 a month on average and two bedroom apartment rents average $1226. And that is a nice house payment for most folks.

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