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November 15, 2007

« The Gaying of America | Main | The De-Gentrification of New York? »

It is definitely worth looking at:

Today’s young workers, those aged 25 to 34, are much more mobile than previous generations. So where are the young workers going? The answers, based on statistics from U.S. Census data, might surprise investors. While many baby boomers have publicly fled to the Sun Belt, today’s young workers have quietly followed.

Between 2000 and 2006, the population of this demographic in certain cities dropped dramatically—San Francisco lost 28 percent of its young workers, while Pittsburgh lost 29 percent. Detroit lost 20 percent of those aged 25 to 34, a decline perhaps caused by significant workforce reductions in local manufacturing.

full story here.

However, their table (sort by % of total population) tells a different story.  When you look at "stocks" instead of "flows", you see that the top three cities for % of 25-34-year olds are Austin, Boston Seattle -- two of which don't seem all that "sunny" to me (expect perhaps for their economic outlooks...).  (I'm also not buying the "following the sun" argument when San Francisco makes their list of biggest losers -- Maybe Census did the count during the summer months..?)

Posted by Kevin Stolarick


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Michael Wells

I think their explanation about housing prices makes sense, many young people are being priced out of SF, Boston, etc. These are the cities themselves, not the SMSA's. It would be interested to see a breakdown of college educated 29-34 year olds and compare to this chart, see how much income is a factor (assuming education as a substitute for income.)

Another interesting thing is look at their big gainers: Phoenix; San Antonio; Austin, Texas; Fort Worth, Texas; Las Vegas; Oklahoma City; Tucson, Ariz. and Albuquerque, N.M. Except for Oklahoma City, these are all Southwestern with large Hispanic populations -- both immigrants and current residents would be adding to the popualtion.

Kevin Stolarick

Definitely agree with Michael about the housing prices. I think that is also part of the equation. As is immigration. Basically, the only groups that are growing significantly in the U.S. are Latinos and Mormons -- both of whom are having children in numbers greater than two.

I think the broader point is that this is more than just young people worried about their tans. I also expect, while still present, the pattern wouldn't be as strong if just those with college degrees or the creative class were taken into consideration.

Paul White

I would like to see how the percentage gain/loss of this age cohort compares to the gain/loss of population overall. Everyone knows that Detroit is hemorrhaging people... but if the 20% decrease in this cohort compares to a 30% decrease overall... maybe they aren't doing so bad. And while the sunbelt is growing overall, perhaps the spiky cities will stand out as the ones whose growth in this age cohort outpaced their overall growth.

Michael R. Bernstein

Hmph. Where's my hat-tip?


That is an interesting table, but unless I'm missing something it doesn't take into account educational attainment. What's really interesting, as aptly alluded to by the first comment, is where the young EDUCATED population are migrating. The intuition here is that less educated people tend to follow jobs, but (in the longer run) jobs and economic development tend to follow educated people (human capital). There's actually a pretty interesting and comprehensive article on this on the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago's website (www.chicagofed.org). I agree that the stock is at least as important as the flow.

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