Economic vitality goes to youthful metros

bizjournals - May 12, 2008by G. Scott Thomas


Youthful spirit and economic vitality go hand in hand. Communities with large concentrations of young adults are more likely to prosper, according to a new bizjournals study.

The correlation is driven home by the study's comparison of metropolitan areas that skew young or old.


Group No. 1 consists of the 11 major markets where more than 25 percent of all residents are 18 to 34 years old. Group No. 2 contains 14 metros where fewer than 22 percent are young adults. Here's how they match up:


-- The young markets have been experiencing population growth of 2.1 percent per year since 2000. That's seven times the growth rate of 0.3 percent for the old markets.

-- The annual rate of job growth is 1.9 percent in the young metros compared to 0.4 percent in their older counterparts.

-- Personal income is climbing at a median pace of 3.4 percent per year in the young markets. The corresponding figure is 2.8 percent on the old side.

It's clear that having a high percentage of young adults can be an indicator of economic success. It tells marketers where to concentrate their efforts, entrepreneurs where to start businesses, and college graduates where to look for work.

But which markets offer the best prospects for people in the 18-34 age range these days? Bizjournals sought the answer by analyzing growth patterns, income levels and other key statistics to rank the nation's 67 largest metros as BEST PLACES FOR YOUNG ADULTS.

These are the five places currently offering the best job opportunities for young adults:

-- 1. Raleigh: This is the only market to finish in the top 10 in three key categories: population growth, job growth, and the percentage of young adults with college degrees. Raleigh is also blessed with a relatively low cost of living.

-- 2. Austin: Twenty-nine percent of Austin's residents are between the ages of 18 and 34. That's the heaviest concentration of young adults in any major metro.

-- 3. Washington: The District of Columbia can be an expensive place to live, but paychecks for workers in their 20s and 30s are among the highest in the nation.

-- 4. Las Vegas: The economy has slowed in Las Vegas in recent months, yet it remains the national leader in job growth since 2002, averaging 4.9 percent per year.

-- 5. Phoenix: The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds in Phoenix is 5.4 percent. That's three full percentage points below the U.S. average for the same age group.

Rounding out the TOP TEN in bizjournals' rankings of employment prospects for young adults are Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Seattle, Orlando and Houston.


Bizjournals analyzed 67 major metropolitan areas, searching for qualities that would appeal to workers in their 20s and early 30s. THE FORMULA gave the highest marks to places with strong growth rates, moderate costs of living, and substantial pools of young college-educated adults with jobs.


The Sunbelt dominates the upper echelon in the national rankings. Eight of the 20 best markets for young adults are in the South, and seven are in the West.


Four of the five remaining slots are occupied by Eastern communities, while Minneapolis-St. Paul is the only Midwestern metro to make the top 20.


The competition to attract new and recent graduates to these labor markets is intensifying, partly because young adults are getter choosier.


"College-educated young people are looking for greater control over where they live," concluded a 2006 study by The Segmentation Co., a national research firm that surveyed 1,000 adults between the ages of 25 and 34. All of these respondents held college degrees and had lived in at least two communities since leaving school.


Quality-of-life issues are of prime importance to these mobile young workers. They told The Segmentation Co. that they're looking for places that offer strong professional opportunities, have good schools, and are affordable and clean.


The same factors were important components of bizjournals' 10-part formula, which analyzed each market's job-growth rate, education levels, and median rents, among other indicators.


The least desirable market for young adults, according to bizjournals, is New Orleans, sitting dead last in 67th place. New Orleans, which is still struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, has the worst long-term rates of job and population growth in the study.

Four Midwestern industrial markets are just slightly above New Orleans, all offering relatively little to young adults: Detroit (66th place), Cleveland (65th), Dayton (64th) and Grand Rapids (63rd).
Courtesy of Alamo Title


Best Cities to Live, Work and Play

Wednesday, June 4, 2008 provided by

These ten great places will only get better. Our approach this year to picking the ten best cities in which to live and work was simple: Look for places with strong economies and abundant jobs, then demand reasonable living costs and plenty of fun things to do. When we ran the numbers, some of the names that popped up made us do a double take at first. So we hit the road to meet movers, shakers and regular folks, experience the ambience and take in the sights.

We discovered that our numbers guru, Kevin Stolarick, hadn't steered us wrong. Stolarick, research director at the Martin Prosperity Institute, a think tank that studies economic prosperity, says: "Our formula highlights cities not just with strong past performance, but also with all the ingredients for future success." One key to a bright future is a healthy shot of people in the creative class. People in creative fields -- scientists, engineers, architects, educators, writers, artists and entertainers -- are catalysts of vitality and livability in a city.

The cities that made our list also represent larger surrounding areas. And because we understand that city living isn't for everyone, we've highlighted some great suburbs, too.

Pack a bag and join us on a tour of the Best Cities for 2008 and prepare for some surprises.

1. Houston

Population: 5,542,048

Population Growth Since 2000: 14.9%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 31.3%

Cost-of-Living Index: 88.1 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $50,250

Income Growth Since 2000: 13.1%

2. Raleigh

Population: 995,662

Population Growth Since 2000: 19.9%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 36.1%

Cost-of-Living Index: 99 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $56,150

Income Growth Since 2000: 10.3%

3. Omaha

Population: 821,356

Population Growth Since 2000: 6.6%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 30%

Cost-of-Living Index: 89.4 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $51,627

Income Growth Since 2000: 15.1%

4. Boise

Population: 568,086

Population Growth Since 2000: 18.2%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 33.2%

Cost-of-Living Index: 95.5 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $49,833

Income Growth Since 2000: 16.6%

5. Colorado Springs

Population: 600,444

Population Growth Since 2000: 10.5%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 34.1%

Cost-of-Living Index: 95.3 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income Since 2000: 53,486

Income Growth Since 2000: 16.1%

6. Austin

Population: 1,506,425

Population Growth Since 2000: 17%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 36.5%

Cost-of-Living Index: 92.8 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $52,882

Income Growth Since 2000: 12.2%

7. Fayetteville

Population: 419,455

Population Growth Since 2000: 17.3%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 31.4%

Cost-of-Living Index: 90.4 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $42,267

Income Growth Since 2000: 17.6%

8. Sacramento

Population: 2,067,117

Population Growth Since 2000: 13.1%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 34%

Cost-of-Living Index: 121.7 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $56,953

Income Growth Since 2000: 19.1%

9. Des Moines

Population: 532,425

Population Growth Since 2000: 9.6%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 32.1%

Cost-of-Living Index: 90.6 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $53,384

Income Growth Since 2000: 16.3%

10. Provo

Population: 474,351

Population Growth Since 2000: 20.6%

Percentage of Workforce in Creative Class: 32%

Cost-of-Living Index: 97.7 (100 being national average)

Median Household Income: $50,583

Income Growth Since 2000: 12.2%

Forbes magazine, one of the country's leading business magazines, declared Austin to be "Recession-Proof." Forbes also included San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas to its list of cities that "are doing just fine." To read this article click here.

The Austin Business Journal recently highlighted some of the area's real estate "Heavy Hitters" and most of those interviewed agreed that the market is holding steady in comparison to the rest of the country. That article can be found in the June 13th print edition of ABJ.