As we explored in my last post, 25-34 year olds with a four year degree or more are concentrating in big metros, with a high proportion living in their central cities. Seventy four percent of young professionals are living in one of the 54 regions with a population of one million or more and in those metros one third live in the central city(s). The concentration is even greater in the top ten where 42% live with 35% of them in the central city.
The top ten are:
New York | Los Angeles | Washington DC | Chicago | San Jose/San Francisco | Boston | Philadelphia | Dallas | Atlanta | Houston
But the clear winner is the New York City CSA. This now four state region has more than 1.3 million young professionals living there. That’s 10% of all young professionals in the country. This compares to 7% of the total population in the country living in the region. Even more astonishing is that New York City has home to more than 650,000 young professionals. That’s 5% of the young professionals in the country choosing to live there. Double its share of the total population of the country. Forty eight percent of the region’s 25-34 year olds with a four year degree or more live in New York City.
That means that New York City alone has roughly double the young professionals residents as the entire state of Michigan: 650,000 compared to 333,000.
So what is it that attracts so many young professionals to the New York City region and city? Certainly not low costs (taxes, housing, cost of living, etc. are among the highest in the country). It isn’t the weather. Nor is it necessarily just a job. Although that matters. The region ranks 39th among the 54 metros with populations of one million or more in the proportion of those with a four year degree or more that are working.
Mayor Bloomberg in a Financial Times column provides an explanation of what matters most to attracting young professionals. He wrote:
The most creative individuals want to live in places that protect personal freedoms, prize diversity and offer an abundance of cultural opportunities. A city that wants to attract creators must offer a fertile breeding ground for new ideas and innovations. In this respect, part of what sets cities such as New York and London apart cannot be captured by rankings. Recent college graduates are flocking to Brooklyn not merely because of employment opportunities, but because it is where some of the most exciting things in the world are happening – in music, art, design, food, shops, technology and green industry. Economists may not say it this way but the truth of the matter is: being cool counts. When people can find inspiration in a community that also offers great parks, safe streets and extensive mass transit, they vote with their feet.
Protect personal freedoms, prize diversity, offer an abundance of cultural opportunities and offer great parks, safe streets and extensive mass transit. That is the priority list if Michigan wants to be competitive in retaining and attracting young talent.