The biggest demographic challenge of our times is this: how can we funnel the "Millennial" generation away from our nation's biggest and best cities and into some isolated holding area—a rural internment camp, perhaps—where they cannot do damage to all of the grown-ups, or make a lot of noise at all hours? The bad news is that we completely failed at this. Millennials have infested our nation's cities. The worse news is this: cities now do not want those Millennials to leave.

One might logically say: well, now that we have them all in the cities, let's just burn down the cities and start over. Look how nice Dresden is today. Alas, there are too many insurance issues to make this practical. The odd position America is in now is one in which cities are seeking to retain all their aging Millennial residents, so that perhaps they can start paying some real fucking taxes around here. USA Today reports on the quandary:

The older they get, the less likely people are to live in cities, according to recent Census data. The peak age for urban living is 25 to 27, when 20% of that age group are nestled in urban centers. By the age of 41, about a quarter have moved to the suburbs...

The stakes are high because the oldest of 86 million Millennials are turning 30 this year, a time when many marry and start families.

Cities are quite reasonably saying, "Hey, we're not gonna host all you Millennials during your most annoying life years, only to have you move out to the burbs right when you're ready to become productive citizens." Not so fast, cities: recall that each generation extends its childhood era by at least five years past each previous generation, meaning that most Millennials will not reach what is commonly recognized as "adulthood" until at least age 45—older, even, than most "Gen Y" people who see themselves represented in Judd Apatow movies.

So let those Millennials go, urban planners. Otherwise, you'll be waiting for "the good years" forever. The sad reality is that there are more young people coming up behind them.

[USA Today. Photo: Claire Evans/ Flickr]