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.

Young Professionals: A Comparison

**Updated 2/3/2017 with 2015 data. Originally posted 1/21/2016.

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___________________2015

1. Chicago: 463,236_______1. Chicago: 510,042________1. Chicago: 530,508
2. San Antonio: 180,981_____2. San Antonio: 200,645____2. San Antonio: 238,111
3. Austin: 137,523_________3. Austin: 162,247_________3. Austin: 211,528
4. San Jose, CA: 133,144___4. Columbus: 147,584______4. Columbus: 174,059
5. Columbus: 131,641______5. San Jose, CA: 142,551___5. San Jose, CA: 159,172
6. Indianapolis: 114,532_____6. Indianapolis: 133,088____6. Charlotte, NC: 145,573
7. Detroit: 110,759_________7. Charlotte, NC: 127,539___7. Indianapolis: 140,838
8. Charlotte, NC: 100,025____8. Portland, OR: 113,210___8. Nashville: 127,646
9. Portland, OR: 90,023_____9. Nashville: 110,882______9. Portland: 125,173
10. Las Vegas: 84,418______10. Milwaukee: 97,359____10. Milwaukee: 100,826
11. Milwaukee: 82,060______11. Detroit: 85,023_______11. Detroit: 95,474
12. Sacramento, CA: 75,497___12. Minneapolis: 81,532__12. Minneapolis: 93,282
13. Minneapolis: 74,208___13. Las Vegas: 81,212______13. Sacramento: 88,819
14. Kansas City, MO: 68,060__14. Sacramento: 78,527__14. Las Vegas: 87,951
15. Virginia Beach: 60,749__15. Kansas City: 73,872____15. Virginia Beach: 76,061
16. Omaha, NE: 56,248____16. Virginia Beach: 67,614__16. Kansas City: 75,582
17. Wichita, KS: 52,426____17. Omaha: 62,396________17. Omaha: 71,910
18. Cleveland: 50,558_____18. St. Louis: 57,627_______18. Orlando: 63,936
19. St. Louis: 48,137______19. Wichita: 56,737________19. Pittsburgh: 62,703
20. Cincinnati: 44,945_____20. Cleveland: 54,428______20. St. Louis: 61,874
21. Toledo: 43,134_______21. Pittsburgh: 51,109______21. Cleveland: 58,209
22. Orlando: 40,846______22. St. Paul: 50,107________22. Wichita: 56,933
23. St. Paul, MN: 39,676__23. Cincinnati: 49,067_______23. St. Paul: 55,956
24. Lincoln, NE: 38,893___24. Orlando: 48,102________24. Cincinnati: 55,826
25. Madison, WI: 38,826___25. Madison: 44,662_______25. Madison: 47,551
26. Pittsburgh: 38,744____26. Lincoln: 42,034_________26. Toledo: 43,645
27. Grand Rapids: 35,287__27. Toledo: 41,580________27: Lincoln: 41,602
28. Des Moines: 32,640__28. Fort Wayne: 35,193______28. Grand Rapids: 38,044
29. Fort Wayne, IN: 31,738__29. Providence: 31,044____29. Fort Wayne: 36,915
30. Akron: 30,436_______30. Grand Rapids: 30,963____30. Des Moines: 35,123
31. Providence, RI: 29,307__31. Des Moines: 30,376____31. Providence: 32,615
32. Dayton: 18,591_______32. Akron: 27,446_________32. Akron: 28,645
33. Youngstown: 8,505____33. Dayton: 20,278________33. Dayton: 20,527
34. Nashville, TN: N/A___34. Youngtown: 8,484_______34. Youngstown: 9,110

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

Total Growth Rank in 25-34 Population 2005-2015

1. Austin, TX: 74,005
2. Chicago: 67,272
3. San Antonio, TX: 57,130
4. Charlotte, NC: 45,548
5. Columbus: 42,418
6. Portland, OR: 35,150
7. Indianapolis: 26,306
8. San Jose, CA: 26,028
9. Pittsburgh, PA: 23,959
10. Orlando, FL: 23,090
11. Minneapolis, MN: 19,074
12. Milwaukee, WI: 18,766
13. St. Paul, MN: 16,280
14. Omaha, NE: 15,662
15. Virginia Beach, VA: 15,312
16. St. Louis, MO: 13,737
17. Sacramento, CA: 13,332
18. Cincinnati: 10,881
19. Madison, WI: 8,725
20. Cleveland: 7,651
21. Kansas City, MO: 7,522
22. Fort Wayne, IN: 5,177
23. Wichita, KS: 4,507
24. Las Vegas, NV: 3,533
25. Providence, RI: 3,308
26. Grand Rapids, MI: 2,757
27. Lincoln, NE: 2,709
28. Des Moines, IA: 2,483
29. Dayton: 1,936
30. Youngstown: 605
31. Toledo: 511
32. Akron: -1,791
33. Detroit: -15,285
34. Nashville, TN: N/A

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

Total Growth Rank of 25-34 Population 2010-2015

1. Austin: 49,281
2. San Antonio: 37,466
3. Columbus: 26,475
4. Chicago: 20,466
5. Charlotte: 18,034
6. Nashville: 16,764
7. San Jose: 16,621
8. Orlando: 15,834
9. Portland: 11,963
10. Minneapolis: 11,750
11. Pittsburgh: 11,594
12. Detroit: 10,451
13. Sacramento: 10,292
14. Omaha: 9,514
15. Virginia Beach: 8,447
16. Indianapolis: 7,750
17. Grand Rapids: 7,081
18. Cincinnati: 6,759
19. Las Vegas: 6,739
20. St. Paul: 5,849
21. Des Moines: 4,747
22. St. Louis: 4,247
23. Cleveland: 3,781
24. Milwaukee: 3,467
25. Madison: 2,889
26. Toledo: 2,065
27. Fort Wayne: 1,722
28. Kansas City: 1,710
29. Providence: 1,571
30. Akron: 1,199
31. Youngstown: 626
32. Dayton: 249
33. Wichita: 196
34. Lincoln: -432

So Columbus is doing even better since 2010 than it did in the earlier period and attracts significantly more people in the 25-34 age group than cities often cited for this very metric.

Next, let’s look at percentage growth, as city size can affect this.

Total Percent Growth 2005-2015 in 25-34 Population

1. Pittsburgh: +61.8%
2. Orlando: +56.5%
3. Austin: +53.8%
4. Charlotte: +45.5%
5. St. Paul: +41.0%
6. Portland: +39.0%
7. Columbus: +32.2%
8. San Antonio: +31.6%
9. St. Louis: +28.5%
10. Omaha: +27.8%
11. Minneapolis: +25.7%
12. Virginia Beach: +25.2%
13. Cincinnati: +24.2%
14. Indianapolis: +23.0%
15. Milwaukee: +22.9%
16. Madison: +22.5%
17. San Jose: +19.5%
18. Sacramento: +17.6%
19. Fort Wayne: +16.3%
20. Cleveland: +15.1%
21. Chicago: +14.5%
22. Providence: +11.3%
23. Kansas City: +11.1%
24. Dayton: +10.4%
25. Wichita: +8.6%
26. Grand Rapids: +7.8%
27. Des Moines: +7.6%
28. Youngstown: +7.1%
29. Lincoln: +7.0%
30. Las Vegas: +4.2%
31. Toledo: +1.2%
32. Akron: -5.9%
33. Detroit: -13.8%
34. Nashville: N/A

So Columbus again performs fairly well in percentage growth, despite having one of the largest populations in the age group.

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 2015

1. Orlando: 23.6%
2. Austin: 22.7%
3. Minneapolis: 22.7%
4. Pittsburgh: 20.6%
5. Columbus: 20.5%
6. Portland: 19.8%
7. St. Louis: 19.6%
8. Chicago: 19.5%
9. Nashville: 19.5%
10. Grand Rapids: 19.4%
11. Madison: 19.1%
12. Cincinnati: 18.7%
13. St. Paul: 18.6%
14. Providence: 18.2%
15. Sacramento: 18.1%
16. Charlotte: 17.6%
17. Milwaukee: 16.8%
18. Virginia Beach: 16.8%
19. Des Moines: 16.7%
20. Indianapolis: 16.6%
21. Omaha: 16.2%
22. San Antonio: 16.2%
23. Kansas City: 15.9%
24. Toledo: 15.6%
25. San Jose: 15.5%
26. Cleveland: 15.0%
27. Lincoln: 15.0%
28. Dayton: 14.6%
29. Wichita: 14.6%
30. Akron: 14.5%
31. Fort Wayne: 14.3%
32. Detroit: 14.1%
33. Las Vegas: 14.1%
34. Youngstown: 14.1%

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.