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.

Oh Clintonville… The Queen of NIMBYism




Clintonville has long been making news for its near hysterical opposition to any change whatsoever. The fight over the North Broadway turn lane has become something of legend, and the neighborhood freak outs over everything from the Indianola Avenue road diet to the Olympic Pool saga have become nearly standard procedure.
This week, Clintonville’s notorious NIMBYism once again popped its ugly head in the news, this time about Columbus’ plan to install rain gardens in the neighborhood.

The story is a classic.

First, let’s look at some of the backstory to this outrage. All the way back in 2005, Columbus submitted a plan to the Ohio EPA called the Wet Weather Management Plan. The gist of the plan was the actions the city would take to reduce sewage overflows into rivers and streams during heavy rains, as well as reducing pollution runoff. For years, heavy rains would cause sewers to back up into the Scioto and Olentangy rivers, as well as causing pollution runoff from streets, parking lots and other surfaces. At times, this pollution would cause very unpleasant odors throughout the Downtown area, as well as along the rivers themselves. Coinciding with the city’s desire to create a more inviting riverfront (which it would later do with the Scioto Mile and Scioto Greenways projects), it had to create infrastructure to solve the pollution issues.
One of the biggest ways this was accomplished was by drilling a 5.4 mile tunnel under Downtown that would fully prevent all of the sewage overflows. Begun in 2007, the project took 8 years and $371 million to complete. You can read a bit more about that project here: http://www.dispatch.com/article/20150912/NEWS/309129781
In 2015, when the overflow problem was solved, the city came up with an updated plan called Blueprint Columbus. This plan continued to address runoff problems, specifically with the creation of a network of rain gardens throughout the city. If you’re unaware, rain gardens are basically special, landscaped ditches that function as water filters. They block runoff and help prevent flooding, and would potentially save the city millions of dollars in the long run. Check out the Blueprint Columbus plan here: https://www.columbus.gov/utilities/projects/blueprint/ There’s a ton of information there, including the locations of many of the proposed rain gardens… which brings us back to Clintonville. In 2016, Clintonville found out it would be hosting as many as 500 rain gardens in the initial pilot rollout that will eventually include 17 areas of the city: http://www.dispatch.com/article/20160110/NEWS/301109834
Almost immediately, the complaints began to pour in. At meetings during the summer of 2015, residents had already begun the fear-mongering outrage. It wasn’t until this year, however, that Clintonville really began to earn that long-standing reputation. Construction of the rain gardens began over the summer, and they not only were built in the grassy easements in front of houses, but some were built right into the street, removing parking spaces and creating zones where traffic would be forced to slow down. Residents were apoplectic.

Keep in mind, these are some examples of a typical rain garden:

Not so bad, right? And if they help clean the water, reduce flooding costs and beautify the neighborhood, what’s the problem? Plenty, according to Clintonville residents.

http://stagenc.build.dispatch.com/news/20171016/some-residents-dont-like-them-but-columbus-says-rain-gardens-are-working
In the Dispatch article, residents called them everything from “unsightly” to “toxic dumps”, while another article, http://www.thisweeknews.com/news/20171016/over-my-dead-body-rain-garden-rage-continues called them an outrageous example of big government overreach, as well as a potential danger to toddlers.

My favorite comment, however, was this one:
“That’s a real problem, that this is an experiment,” he said. “If they want to do an experiment, do it somewhere else — not on these homes. I am seriously considering moving.”

If that isn’t the epitome of irrational NIMBYism, I don’t know what is. Ironically, should that resident move, he’d have absolutely no trouble selling it. Clintonville is an urban neighborhood in a growing, desirable city. Given the record low housing inventory for sale in the area, he’d probably get top dollar for it.

As for why Clintonville is so irrationally opposed to any and all change? Perhaps because it has long been an insular community. Demographics there have been one of the steadiest in the county, let alone the city. It is among the least diverse and has one of the highest median ages of neighborhood populations in the city by far, even including suburbs. Things simply don’t change there, and many seem to vehemently want it to stay that way. However, change is always inevitable. Perhaps Clintonville should save its energy for *actual* nefarious practices, not imagined ones.

The Midwest Beat the South in Regional Domestic Migration in 2016

For years, if not decades, we’ve been hearing a familiar tale- that anyone and everyone is moving from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and West. This trend began during and after the collapse of Northern manufacturing, and as higher cost of living began to make the lower-cost South more attractive in particular. However, a lot of the South’s growth over the years- indeed a majority- never had anything to do with region-to-region migration. Instead, it was due largely to natural growth (births vs. deaths) and international migration, particularly from Central America. What received all the attention, though, was the belief that people were packing up and moving to the South from places like Ohio and other struggling Northern states. While that may have been true for a while, that is increasingly looking like it is no longer the case.

The Midwest, especially, has been derided as the region no one wants to live in. Despite its growing population approaching 66 million people, the common refrain was that its colder winters, flailing economies and questionable demographic future meant that it was simply a region being left behind by the booming Southern states.

Recently, the US Census released estimates for 2015-2016 geographic mobility, and they tell a very different story altogether.

First, let’s look at the total domestic migration moving to the Midwest from other regions.
South to Midwest: +309,000
West to Midwest: +72,000
Northeast to Midwest: +61,000
Total to Midwest: +442,000

And then compare that to the total that the Midwest sends to other regions.
Midwest to South: -254,000
Midwest to West: -224,000
Midwest to Northeast: -34,000
Total from Midwest: -512,000

Net difference by region.
Midwest vs. South: +55,000
Midwest vs. West: -152,000
Midwest vs. Northeast: +27,000
Total Net: -70,000

So while the Midwest is seeing and overall net domestic migration loss, it is entirely to the Western states.

This could just be an off year, as almost all recent years showed losses to the South, but then again, maybe not. The South has been in a boom for several decades now, and in that time, the region still lags the other 3 in almost every quality of life metric used. All booms end eventually, and the South’s 2 biggest perceived advantages, low cost of living and business-friendly climate, have been gradually eroding over time. As Census surveys show, people don’t actually move for a change in weather, so it’s the economic factors that are going to make the biggest impacts long-term. The Midwest now has many cities and several states that are doing well economically, including Columbus, and perhaps they are becoming more attractive than they have in many years. Time will tell, but last year, the narrative of an unattractive Midwest vs. South was at least temporarily shelved.

Columbus Foreign-Born Population and Comparison to Peers

The Census just came out with 2016 demographic numbers for cities. Given that more than half the decade is over, it’s a good point to look at where Columbus stands relative to its national/Midwest peers.

First up, let’s take a look at foreign-born populations. I have looked at this topic some in the past, but I have never done a full-scale comparison for this topic.

Total Foreign-Born Population Rank by City 2000, 2010 and 2016
2000—————————————-2010———————————-2016
1. Chicago, IL: 628,903———–1. Chicago: 557,674—————1. Chicago: 559,623
2. San Jose, CA: 329,750——–2. San Jose: 366,194————-2. San Jose: 402,776
3. San Antonio, TX: 133,675—-3. San Antonio: 192,741———-3. San Antonio: 219,520
4. Austin, TX: 109,006————4. Austin: 148,431——————4. Austin: 166,877
5. Las Vegas, NV: 90,656——-5. Las Vegas: 130,503————-5. Charlotte: 138,097
6. Sacramento, CA: 82,616—–6. Chalotte: 106,047—————6. Las Vegas: 137,583
7. Portland, OR: 68,976———7. Sacramento: 96,105————-7. Sacramento: 112,901
8. Charlotte, NC: 59,849——–8. Columbus: 86,663—————-8. Columbus: 101,300
9. Minneapolis, MN: 55,475—–9. Portland: 83,026—————–9. Portland: 87,599
10. Columbus: 47,713———–10. Indianapolis: 74,407———–10. Nashville: 82,505
11. Milwaukee, WI: 46,122—–11. Nashville: 73,327—————11. Indianapolis: 82,207
12. Detroit, MI: 45,541———–12. Minneapolis: 57,846———–12. Orlando: 64,369
13. Providence, RI: 43,947—–13. Milwaukee: 57,222————-13. Minneapolis: 63,585
14. St. Paul, MN: 41,138——-14. Providence: 52,920————14. St. Paul: 60,909
15. Nashville, TN: 38,936——-15. St. Paul: 50,366—————-15. Milwaukee: 58,300
16. Indianapolis, IN: 36,067—-16. Orlando: 43,747—————-16. Providence: 51,290
17. Virginia Beach, VA: 28,276–17. Virginia Beach: 40,756—–17. Omaha: 47,566
18. Orlando, FL: 26,741———18. Omaha: 39,288—————18. Virginia Beach: 45,650
19. Omaha, NE: 25,687———19. Kansas City: 35,532———19. Detroit: 39,555
20. Kansas City, MO: 25,632—20. Detroit: 34,307—————-20. Kansas City: 38,564
21. Cleveland: 21,372————21. St. Louis: 23,011————–21. Pittsburgh: 26,604
22. Grand Rapids, MI: 20,814–22. Pittsburgh: 18,698————22. Cleveland: 21,336
23. St Louis, MO: 19,542——-23. Cleveland: 17,739————-23. Grand Rapids: 20,270
24. Pittsburgh, PA: 18,874—–24. Grand Rapids: 16,615——–24. St. Louis: 19,245
25. Cincinnati: 12,461———–25. Cincinnati: 16,531————-25. Cincinnati: 15,625
26. Toledo: 9,475—————–26. Toledo: 11,559—————–26. Akron: 14,441
27. Akron: 6,911——————27. Akron: 8,524——————–27. Toledo: 8,830
28. Dayton: 3,245—————-28. Dayton: 5,102——————-28. Dayton: 7,058
29. Youngstown: 1,605———29. Youngstown: 3,695————29. Youngstown: 1,125

Here’s the 2000-2016 total change.

And the 2000-2016 change by %.

So Columbus has an above average total and growth compared to its peers nationally.

In Franklin County, Young Adults Prefer Density

I’ve seen several articles across the internet lately questioning the idea that young professionals and Millennials really prefer urban areas or not. I decided to see how this played out in Franklin County overall. I first looked at the total population aged 20-34 in the year 2000 and the year 2015 by Census Tract.
Here were the maps for those years.

After looking at the numbers for both years, I came up with this map for how that age group had changed in the 2000-2015 period.

Unfortunately, some tracts, particularly in the eastern suburban areas, did not exist in 2000, and so I was not able to figure out the change for them during the period. The rest of the map, however, shows that the strongest growth in this age group was not only inside 270, but closest to Downtown and central corridors along Broad and High Streets.
These maps don’t tell us about the relationship between those changes and the population density of the census tracts. So I went further and broke the tracts into increments of density to see where the strongest growth was occurring.

With a few exceptions, there appears to be a correlation between average 20-34 aged population growth and the density of the census tracts it occurs in. This suggests that this age group, at least in Franklin County, prefers areas with moderate to high density, which typically translates to urban living.