Young Professionals: A Comparison

**Updated 11/22/2017.

Millennials and Young Professionals are big news these days. Millennials are the largest generation ever in terms of total numbers (exceeding 76 million), and their choices are already having big impacts on everything from housing to the economy, and Young Professionals have long been an important urban demographic. I wanted to look at Columbus and its peers to see where it ranks in terms of attracting the 25-34 age group that include these demographics.

For the comparison, I looked at metro areas of 1.5-2.5 million as well as major Midwest metros and then used their core cities to get the numbers.

Rank of Total Population Aged 25-34

2005_______________________2010___________________2016

1. Chicago: 463,236_______1. Chicago: 510,042________1. Chicago: 532,349
2. San Antonio: 180,981_____2. San Antonio: 200,645____2. San Antonio: 241,783
3. Austin: 137,523_________3. Austin: 162,247_________3. Austin: 214,687
4. San Jose, CA: 133,144___4. Columbus: 147,584______4. Columbus: 180,685
5. Columbus: 131,641______5. San Jose, CA: 142,551___5. San Jose, CA: 165,408
6. Indianapolis: 114,532_____6. Indianapolis: 133,088____6. Charlotte, NC: 149,024
7. Detroit: 110,759_________7. Charlotte, NC: 127,539___7. Indianapolis: 143,328
8. Charlotte, NC: 100,025____8. Portland, OR: 113,210___8. Nashville: 130,593
9. Portland, OR: 90,023_____9. Nashville: 110,882______9. Portland: 127,557
10. Las Vegas: 84,418______10. Milwaukee: 97,359____10. Milwaukee: 101,449
11. Milwaukee: 82,060______11. Detroit: 85,023_______11. Detroit: 101,246
12. Sacramento, CA: 75,497___12. Minneapolis: 81,532__12. Sacramento: 92,883
13. Minneapolis: 74,208___13. Las Vegas: 81,212______13. Minneapolis: 90,022
14. Kansas City, MO: 68,060__14. Sacramento: 78,527__14. Las Vegas: 84,756
15. Virginia Beach: 60,749__15. Kansas City: 73,872____15. Kansas City: 81,532
16. Omaha, NE: 56,248____16. Virginia Beach: 67,614__16. Virginia Beach: 75,365
17. Wichita, KS: 52,426____17. Omaha: 62,396________17. Omaha: 72,055
18. Cleveland: 50,558_____18. St. Louis: 57,627_______18. Orlando: 63,947
19. St. Louis: 48,137______19. Wichita: 56,737________19. Pittsburgh: 62,515
20. Cincinnati: 44,945_____20. Cleveland: 54,428______20. St. Louis: 61,777
21. Toledo: 43,134_______21. Pittsburgh: 51,109______21. Cleveland: 58,773
22. Orlando: 40,846______22. St. Paul: 50,107________22. Wichita: 57,869
23. St. Paul, MN: 39,676__23. Cincinnati: 49,067_______23. St. Paul: 55,306
24. Lincoln, NE: 38,893___24. Orlando: 48,102________24. Cincinnati: 54,754
25. Madison, WI: 38,826___25. Madison: 44,662_______25. Madison: 48,759
26. Pittsburgh: 38,744____26. Lincoln: 42,034_________26. Lincoln: 43,882
27. Grand Rapids: 35,287__27. Toledo: 41,580________27: Toledo: 42,888
28. Des Moines: 32,640__28. Fort Wayne: 35,193______28. Grand Rapids: 39,829
29. Fort Wayne, IN: 31,738__29. Providence: 31,044____29. Fort Wayne: 37,372
30. Akron: 30,436_______30. Grand Rapids: 30,963____30. Des Moines: 34,961
31. Providence, RI: 29,307__31. Des Moines: 30,376____31. Providence: 30,630
32. Dayton: 18,591_______32. Akron: 27,446_________32. Akron: 29,786
33. Youngstown: 8,505____33. Dayton: 20,278________33. Dayton: 22,930
34. Nashville, TN: N/A___34. Youngtown: 8,484_______34. Youngstown: 7,621

So Columbus ranks highly among total population in the 25-34 age group. But what about growth?

Total Growth Rank in 25-34 Population 2005-2016

1. Austin, TX: 77,164
2. Chicago: 69,113
3. San Antonio, TX: 60,802
4. Columbus: 49,044
5. Charlotte, NC: 48,999
6. Portland, OR: 37,534
7. San Jose, CA: 32,264
8. Indianapolis, IN: 28,796
9. Pittsburgh, PA: 23,771
10. Orlando, FL: 23,101
11. Milwaukee, WI: 19,389
12. Sacramento, CA: 17,386
13. Minneapolis, MN: 15,814
14. Omaha, NE: 15,807
15. St. Paul, MN: 15,630
16. Virginia Beach, VA: 14,616
17. St. Louis, MO: 13,642
18. Kansas City, MO: 13,472
19. Madison, WI: 9,933
20. Cincinnati: 9,809
21. Cleveland: 8,215
22. Fort Wayne, IN: 5,634
23. Wichita, KS: 5,443
24. Lincoln, NE: 4,989
25. Grand Rapids, MI: 4,542
26. Dayton: 4,339
27. Des Moines, IA: 2,321
28. Providence, RI: 1,323
29. Las Vegas, NV: 338
30. Toledo: -246
31. Akron: -650
32. Youngstown: -884
33. Detroit, MI: -9,513
34. Nashville: N/A

Again, Columbus ranks near the top during this period. What about more recently, since 2010?

Total Growth Rank of 25-34 Population 2010-2016

1. Austin: 52,440
2. San Antonio: 41,138
3. Columbus: 33,101
4. San Jose: 22,857
5. Chicago: 22,307
6. Charlotte: 21,485
7. Nashville: 19,711
8. Detroit: 16,223
9. Orlando: 15,845
10. Sacramento: 14,356
11. Portland: 14,347
12. Pittsburgh: 11,406
13. Indianapolis: 10,240
14. Omaha: 9,659
15. Grand Rapids: 8,866
16. Minneapolis: 8,490
17. Virginia Beach: 7,751
18. Kansas City: 7,660
19. Cincinnati: 5,687
20. St. Paul: 5,199
21. Des Moines: 4,585
22. Cleveland: 4,345
23. St. Louis: 4,152
24. Madison: 4,097
25. Milwaukee: 4,090
26. Las Vegas: 3,544
27. Dayton: 2,652
28. Akron: 2,340
29. Fort Wayne: 2,179
30. Lincoln: 1,848
31. Toledo: 1,308
32. Wichita: 1,132
33. Providence: -414
34. Youngstown: -863

So Columbus is also doing well since 2010 and attracts significantly more people in the 25-34 age group than cities often cited for this very metric.

Finally, now that we know the totals and the growth, what is the % of total city population that the 25-34 age group makes up?

25-34 % of Total City Population 2016

1. Orlando: 23.1%
2. Austin: 22.6%
3. Minneapolis: 21.8%
4. Columbus: 20.9%
5. Pittsburgh: 20.6%
6. Grand Rapids: 20.3%
7. Portland: 19.9%
8. Nashville: 19.8%
9. St. Louis: 19.8%
10. Chicago: 19.7%
11. Madison: 19.3%
12. Sacramento: 18.8%
13. Cincinnati: 18.3%
14. St. Paul: 18.3%
15. Charlotte: 17.7%
16. Providence: 17.1%
17. Milwaukee: 17.0%
18. Kansas City: 16.9%
19. Indianapolis: 16.8%
20. Virginia Beach: 16.7%
21. Des Moines: 16.2%
22. San Antonio: 16.2%
23. Omaha: 16.1%
24. San Jose: 16.1%
25. Lincoln: 15.7%
26. Toledo: 15.4%
27. Cleveland: 15.2%
28. Akron: 15.1%
29. Detroit: 15.0%
30. Wichita: 14.8%
31. Fort Wayne: 14.3%
32. Las Vegas: 13.4%
33. Youngstown: 11.9%
34. Dayton: 8.2%

Columbus has an existing large population of the 25-34 age demographic, and looks to be one of the strongest performers into the near future.
Some would ask why that would be considering that Columbus transit is woefully lacking and has a reputation (very undeservedly, in my opinion) of being suburban- characteristics that Millennials/YPers supposedly almost universally reject. Perhaps the bottom line is that economics trump all other desires. Cost of living and employment tend to be higher up the list than rail lines, and Columbus has both a strong economy and relatively low COL. Whatever the case may be, Columbus seems to be doing something right.

For more information on demographics, go to: Columbus Demographics
And for Franklin County racial and economic maps, go to: Census Tract and Zip Code Maps

2015 Metro Area Population Estimates and Peer Comparison

As promised, here is the information for the Columbus metro, its national peers and major Midwest metros.

2015 Metro Population Estimates
Chicago, IL: 9,551,031
Detroit, MI: 4,302,043
Minneapolis, MN: 3,524,583
St. Louis, MO: 2,811,588
Charlotte, NC: 2,426,363
Portland, OR: 2,389,228
Orlando, FL: 2,387,138
San Antonio, TX: 2,384,075
Pittsburgh, PA: 2,353,045
Sacramento, CA: 2,274,194
Cincinnati: 2,157,719
Las Vegas, NV: 2,114,801
Kansas City, MO: 2,087,471
Cleveland: 2,060,810
Columbus: 2,021,632
Austin, TX: 2,000,860
Indianapolis: 1,988,817
San Jose, CA: 1,976,836
Nashville, TN: 1,830,345
Virginia Beach, VA: 1,724,876
Providence, RI: 1,613,070
Milwaukee, WI: 1,575,747
Grand Rapids, MI: 1,038,583
Omaha, NE: 915,312
Dayton: 800,909
Akron: 704,243
Toledo: 605,956
Youngstown: 549,885


Components of Metro Area Population Change

As you can see, while Columbus has a middle of the road birth rate for its peers, its relatively low death rate means that it manages to be near the top of the its peer group in natural growth.

It seems that while international migration is competitive with peers in the Columbus metro, domestic migration would need to improve to truly be at the upper peer level. At the very least, it is positive.

2015 County Population Estimates Report

The US Census has released its population estimates for both counties and metros for the year ending July 1, 2015. Here is a detailed look at Ohio’s counties.

Ohio’s Top 25 Largest Counties

2010……………………………….2014………………………………..2015
1. Cuyahoga: 1,280,109….1. Cuyahoga: 1,263,796……1. Cuyahoga: 1,255,921
2. Franklin: 1,163,545……..2. Franklin: 1,234,126………2. Franklin: 1,251,722
3. Hamilton: 802,270……….3. Hamilton: 806,332……….3. Hamilton: 807,598
4. Summit: 541,671………..4. Summit: 542,600………….4. Summit: 541,968
5. Montgomery: 536,216….5. Montgomery: 532,515…..5. Montgomery: 532,258
6. Lucas: 441,575…………..6. Lucas: 434,615…………….6. Lucas: 433,689
7. Stark: 375,461…………….7. Stark: 375,638…………….7. Butler: 376,353
8. Butler: 369,064…………..8. Butler: 373,948…………….8. Stark: 375,165
9. Lorain: 301,471…………..9. Lorain: 304,187……………9. Lorain:305,147
10. Mahoning: 238,398……10. Mahoning: 233,398…….10. Mahoning: 231,900
11. Lake: 230,004…………..11. Lake: 229,220……………11. Lake: 229,245
12. Warren: 213,524………..12. Warren: 221,816………..12. Warren: 224,469
13. Trumbull: 209,854………13. Trumbull: 205,255……..13. Trumbull: 203,751
14. Clermont: 197,795……..14. Clermont: 201,375……..14. Clermont: 201,973
15. Delaware: 175,146……..15. Delaware: 189,237…….15. Delaware: 193,0134
16. Medina: 172,542………..16. Medina: 175,963………..16. Medina: 176,395
17. Licking: 166,480…………17. Licking: 169,407………..17. Licking: 170,570
18. Greene: 161,608………..18. Greene: 164,660………..18. Greene: 164,427
19. Portage: 161,448……….19. Portage: 162,235………..19. Porage: 162,275
20. Fairfield: 146,385……….20. Fairfield: 150,432………..20. Fairfield: 151,408
21. Clark: 148,246…………..21. Clark: 136,482……………21. Clark: 135,959
22. Wood: 125,940………….22. Wood: 129,575…………..22. Wood: 129,730
23. Richland: 124,173……..23. Richland: 121,914……….23. Richland: 121,707
24. Wayne: 114,439………..24. Wayne: 115,572………….24. Wayne: 116,063
25. Columbiana: 107,863…25. Columbiana: 105,597…..25. Columbiana: 104,806

From the numbers above, Columbus’ Franklin County was just below Cuyahoga last year. It is likely that, given each county’s growth rates, Franklin has now passed up Cuyahoga to become Ohio’s most populated county.

Top 25 Total Growth Counties 2010-2015

1. Franklin: +88,177
2. Delaware: +18,824
3. Warren: +11,601
4. Butler: +8,223
5. Fairfield: +5,256
6. Hamilton: +5,224
7. Clermont: +4,610
8. Wood: +4,242
9. Licking: +4,090
10. Medina: +4,062
11. Lorain: +3,791
12. Greene: +2,858
13. Union: +2,010
14. Miami: +1,718
15. Wayne: +1,549
16. Holmes: +1,543
17. Pickaway: +1,300
18. Athens: +1,113
19. Portage: +854
20. Hancock: +791
21. Geauga: +692
22. Madison: +664
23. Tuscarawas: +334
24. Morrow: +247
25. Muskingum: +216



Components of County Population Change

Top 25 Counties for Natural Growth (Births vs. Deaths) 2010-2015
1. Franklin: +50,736
2. Hamilton: +17,256
3. Butler: +7,785
4. Cuyahoga: +7,409
5. Lucas: +7,053
6. Delaware: +6,260
7. Montgomery: +5,007
8. Warren: +4,688
9. Clermont: +3,987
10. Summit: +3,194
11. Fairfield: +2,676
12. Lorain: +2,630
13. Holmes: +2,613
14. Wayne: +2,554
15. Licking: +2,482
16. Greene: +2,309
17. Medina: +2,040
18. Wood: +1,824
19. Union: +1,475
20. Hancock: +1,196
21. Allen: +1,115
22. Shelby: +1,038
23. Miami: +902
24. Putnam: +849
25. Huron: +815

Franklin County’s natural growth rate destroys every other county in the state. It gains almost 7x that of Cuyahoga County, despite Cuyahoga having a larger population during this period, and nearly 3x that of Hamilton County.

Top 25 Counties for Domestic Migration 2010-2015
1. Franklin: +11,715
2. Delaware: +10,532
3. Warren: +4,496
4. Fairfield: +1,691
5. Licking: +1,249
6. Medina: +1,234
7. Wood: +1,120
8. Pickaway: +711
9. Miami: +475
10. Union: +249
11. Madison: +246
12. Ottawa: +5
13. Clermont: -39
14. Morrow: -159
15. Morgan: -162
16. Monroe: -167
17. Washington: -177
18. Harrison: -198
19. Belmont: -221
20. Geauga: -320
21. Vinton: -361
22. Meigs: -401
23. Noble: -421
24. Van Wert: -431
25. Perry: -464

Again, Franklin County leads the pack, with Columbus metro counties performing the best statewide, as shown in the map below.

Top 25 Counties for International Migration 2010-2015
1. Franklin: +26,977
2. Cuyahoga: +16,926
3. Hamilton: +9,016
4. Montgomery: +5,380
5. Summit: +5,307
6. Butler: +4,066
7. Greene: +2,400
8. Lorain: +2,303
9. Warren: +2,198
10. Lucas: +2,194
11. Portage: +1,991
12. Delaware: +1,610
13. Athens: +1,586
14. Mahoning: +1,383
15. Wood: +1,026
16. Stark: +881
17. Lake: +729
18. Fairfield: +658
19. Clermont: +612
20. Medina: +578
21. Tuscarawas: +468
22. Wayne: +408
23. Licking: +404
24. Allen: +375
25. Miami: +359

Most Ohio counties saw increases in international migration, but once again, none came close to Franklin County’s total.

So there you have it, the updated numbers for Ohio’s counties.

Columbus’ Shrinking Annexation

Ever wonder how Columbus got so big in area? Its city limits stretch into parts of other counties and include about a third of Franklin County. Today, it has a reputation for annexing its way to growth, but how true is this?

Well, 50 years ago, it was more or less true. Today, not so much. Aggressive annexation began in Columbus in 1953, when Mayor Maynard “Jack” Sensenbrenner began his policy of requiring annexation into the city if communities wanted city water service. Between 1953 and 1960, the area size of the city more than doubled, and that rate continued through the 1960s and 1970s, even after Sensenbrenner was no longer mayor. After 1980, annexation rates gradually began to decline.

As the chart above shows, you can see the rapid rate of growth during the 1950s-1970s and the decline in more recent decades. Through the first 5 years of the 2010s, Columbus is on pace to add fewer than 3 square miles by 2020. Despite that fact, the city’s annual population growth since 2010 is exceeding the average annual growth of any decade during the mass annexation years. This strongly supports that the dynamic, and indeed, the story of Columbus’ growth is no longer about “fake” growth through the addition of existing land and population, but rather though the influx of new residents from outside of the city limits altogether. This is helping to gradually raise the city’s population density, which exceeded Cincinnati’s last year, as the chart below shows, along with a few other Columbus peers.

The Big Lie: The Midwest vs. The South

For 50 years now, the story has been how the South has been booming while the Midwest has languished in perpetual decline. Nearly every day, a new ranking or story comes about how great the South is in relation to its Northern neighbors, but the more I’ve looked at the numbers, the more I realize that the hype is built upon lies, half-truths and cherry-picking data.

The first data point we’re going to look at is Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, a measure of the total economic output, for the Midwest vs. the South.
Online Graphing
graph

So on this measure, the South is doing pretty well vs. the Midwest… or so it seems at first. The advantage the South has, however, is Texas. Without the behemoth state, the South has had growth on pace with the Midwest, though the recession did knock the Midwest down a bit from a fairly wide gap. Even so, the Midwest is ahead of the South without Texas, making it pretty clear that Texas is a HUGE reason for the South’s growth. All by itself, it nearly double’s the region’s GDP. The Midwest has no such massively dominant state. So does this mean that the South has Texas to thank for all the attention it gets? More light will be shed on this as we go.

Now let’s look at GDP growth by decade for the regions.
Online Graphing
Create a graph

Again, on the surface the South does well. The 2000s were especially kind to the South, while the Midwest declined some, likely due to the double recessions that occurred. However, during the 2010s so far, the Midwest has been growing a bit faster than the South (without Texas), something which hasn’t happened since the 1970s. Once more, Texas shows up as being the main contributor by FAR vs. all other Southern states combined.

Taking GDP further, what does it look like per-capita for the regions?
Online Graphing
graph and charts

First of all, the data only goes back to 1987, and the 1997 jump is because the data collection sources changed. In any case, the Midwest region is the leader here. The South has been stagnant for the last decade or so, while the Midwest, aside from during the recession, has seen a steady rise. Since the recession, the pace of per-capita GDP growth has accelerated, and the gap between the region and the South has widened. The Midwest has reached the US average, while the South, with or without Texas, is well below it and not catching up. What does this mean? Well, that despite relatively healthy GDP total growth in the South, it has simply not been fast enough to keep pace with either the national average or the Midwest. The Midwest has a much stronger economic output per its population than the South does, by almost $10,000 per person.

What about income?
Online Graphing
graph and charts

I know this chart is a bit hard to see, but it runs from 1930-2013. What it shows is that the Midwest has long had the highest per-capita income of the two regions. In fact, the gap between the two has grown steadily wider over years, and has accelerated in the last 5. The Midwest, while just below the national average now, is ahead of the South as a whole, Texas alone and the South without Texas.

To illustrate the income change over the 1930-2013 period further, let’s look at % growth by decade.
Online Graphing
Make a graph

This chart actually shows that the South generally performed much better by rate of growth from the 1970s and earlier. Since then, the rate of growth between the regions has been much closer, and in the 1990s and 2010s, the Midwest grew faster. What this seems to indicate is that the long term growth rate in income is gradually turning more strongly towards the Midwest after a long period where the South had faster growth. The Midwest has also seen faster growth than the national average since the 1980s, not exactly an indication of some kind of sustained decline.

So far, the picture is not quite as one-sided as we’ve been told.

What’s more interesting, especially from a total GDP standpoint, is that the Midwest is smaller than the South as a whole. To be more equal, you’d have to include the Northeastern states. This throws the entire dynamic out the window. In fact, the North combined is still the largest regional economy of the 3 (North, South, West) by about 13 percentage points.