Cities love millennials. Millennial talent is typically associated with high rates of economic growth and innovation, and cities are constantly competing to attract what is known as the most educated generation in history, Richard Florida writes for CityLab.
CityLab analyzed a recent study by Brookings Institution that investigated the distribution of millennial talent—individuals aged 25 to 34 with a college degree or more—across the United States. To create the study, Brookings demographer William Frey mapped the geography of millennials aged 25 to 34 holding a college degree or more to determine which metropolitan centers attract the most millennial talent. Then, Frey identified the metropolitan areas with the greatest percentage of millennials holding at least a college degree.
While millennials overall are far more diverse and evenly distributed geographically than often perceived, millennial talent generally flocks to large metropolitan centers.
According to the Brookings Institution, the top 10 metros for millennial talent are:
- Boston, MA
- Madison, WI
- San Jose, CA
- San Francisco, CA
- Washington, D.C.
- Hartford, CT
- New York, NY
- Raleigh, NC
- Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN
- Denver, CO
The top 10 metros include "leading knowledge hubs" and college towns, Florida writes. Surprisingly, many cities that have a reputation for being millennial-dense—such as Austin and Seattle—don't make the list.
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To better understand why 30% to 45% of highly educated millennials inhabit just 60 of the largest 100 metros, CityLab ran a basic correlation analysis. They found four key takeaways:
- Millennial talent closely correlates with talent more broadly. The geographic distribution of college-educated millennials is closely associated with the geographic distribution of college-educated adults. The greatest discrepancy is that educated millennials are concentrated in more affluent, high-tech, and culturally vibrant metros than their adult counterparts.
- Educated millennials flock to amenity-rich cities that are not necessarily high in population size or density. These cities have a greater share of commuters walking to work or taking public transportation than traveling alone in a car.
- Educated millennials generally choose cities with greater diversity. There is a positive correlation between concentrations of LGBTQ people and educated millennials, as well as between concentrations of Asian residents. However, there is no significant association between educated millennials and white or black populations, and millennial grads are less likely to inhabit cities with higher Hispanic or Latino populations.
- Millennials with college degrees are also more likely to live in politically liberal cities—cities also laden with wage inequality, economic segregation, and high median housing costs.
"Even among the younger generation, America remains defined by winner-take-all urbanism and spatial division-forces that not only shape the nation's centers of innovation and economic advantage, but its deepening political and cultural divides as well," Florida notes. In short, millennial grads are not so different from grads of other generations (Florida, CityLab, 3/6).
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