New York, Washington and San Francisco have long acted as beacons for recent college graduates eager to start their adult lives. But a revealing new study by the think tank City Observatory highlights some surprising new cities recent grads are flocking to.
Appropriately titled “The Young and the Restless and the Nation’s Cities,” the report found that about a million young grads move to a different state each year — and that many don’t settle down until they reach their mid-30s. According to experts, the appeal of urban lifestyles to millennials is quite simple.
“They want something exciting, culturally fun, involving a lot of diversity — and their fathers’ suburban lifestyle doesn’t seem to be all that thrilling to many of them,” Harvard University economics professor Edward Glaeser told the New York Times.
So where are these young grads heading to? In recent years, Denver has become a beacon for young people, with its population of recent grads nearly doubling since the year 2000. Other popular destinations include San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland.
But some cities are losing this potentially transformative young population in droves. The study found that only 4 percent of Detroit’s population can be considered young college graduates — a group that continues to shrink every year. The report notes that this doesn’t bode well for the future.
“The loss of talented young workers is a sign that a region’s economy is struggling,” the study’s author Joe Cortright writes. “Places that attract talent are not only generally doing well, but are increasingly well-positioned to grow additional firms and jobs.”
City Observatory found that these cities had the highest overall percentage of young grads in the country:
• San Diego
• Salt Lake City
• Portland, Oregon