ODESSA -- Young people are moving to Odessa. According to a study by RentCafe, two Odessa zip codes saw increases in their millennial population that rank in the Top-5 for the state of Texas.
The study defined millennials as anyone born between 1977 and 1996. The zip codes, 79766 and 79765, are on the east side of Odessa.
“Where I live there’s like a ton of people out there that are my age range, even younger,” Justin Long, a 79765 resident, said. “They’re all this influx of people coming in. And it’s just nice to see that now there’s not such an age gap between you and your neighbors.”
It seems like the West Texas boom is attractive for young people starting their careers.
“I think for a lot of people,” Colin Proft of Young Professionals of Odessa said, “If you ask them ‘why did you come to Odessa or the Permian Basin?’ They’ll tell you for work. That’s the primary driver.”
Odessa millennials also told me that the city’s growth provides more to do.
“You see more businesses coming in.” Long said. “We have bigger theaters now. We have bigger venues. We have an adrenaline camp now. We’re developing a lot more places for people like us to have fun.”
“This is kind of a musical Mecca,” Proft said. “Whether it’s a coffee shop, or it’s a bar. You’re going to see a fair bit of live music.”
Contrary to what some people believe, millennials also enjoy the human connection found in the Permian Basin.
“Even though Odessa doesn’t necessarily have the same attractions as the Hill Country or Austin,” Proft said, “I encourage people to build relationships. Because there are a lot of great people here, and really the most important thing in our lives is to build relationships.”