Where Are Young College Grads Living? It’s Not Where You Think

Younger workers often flock to urban centers, trading the lower housing costs of the suburbs for the excitement (and easier commutes) of city life. But, which cities millennial workers are choosing may surprise you.

(Photo Credit: Will Folsom/Flickr)

Even in economically troubled places like Buffalo and Cleveland, reports The New York Times, young college grads are moving in: “The number of college-educated people age 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has surged, up 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk.”

The New Geography of Jobs author Enrico Moretti, an economist at UC Berkeley, told the Times, “It’s a type of growth that feeds on itself — the more young workers you have, the more companies are interested in locating their operations in that area and the more young people are going to move there.”

Some top cities drawing young workers are Denver, Washington, the Bay Area, Boston, San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville, Salt Lake City, and Portland. But what do they have in common? Some draws include factors that influence the “perception of cool,” like microbreweries, a start-up scene, bike-sharing, and marriage equality. They’re diverse and far cry from what new residents’ parents would have considered important. Most cities also have sunshine and access to the outdoors most of the year. Washington had the largest share of young college graduates over all, at 8.1 percent.

Leading the short-end-of-the-stick: Detroit, Providence, and Memphis, all slowing way down or losing growth from previous years.

What does the future hold and how many of these youngsters will stay in the city they migrate to after college? Demographers predict that many will stay put and bolster local city economies in the long run, which would help decrease crime and improve things like city schools — likely just in time for the next wave of college graduates.

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