Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jul 23rd 2008 at 7:04pm UTC

Young and Professional

According to these Forbes rankings, the Texas Triangle of Houston, Dallas and Austin score 1, 2 and 3, Atlanta, Seattle, Denver, Charlotte, and San Francisco all scored in the top 10. Take that NY, LA, Chicago, Boston and DC. My hunch is Forbes is giving way too much weight to “cost of living” in an era of front-loaded careers. Their rankings of best cities for young professionals make a bit more intuitive sense. Saine bet for young professionals as well as recent college grads came in 9th. One of the assignments in my economic development course is to deconstruct Forbes’ rankings of the best cities for business. Guess what their next assignment might be? (pointer via CEOs for Cities).

4 Responses to “Young and Professional”

  1. Brendan Says:

    Why is there always the assumption that recent college grads are looking for the cheapest cities (which, not so coincidentally, also tend to be the least interesting)? Most of the twentysomethings I know (myself included) are less worried about the cost of living. We don’t have dependents, we don’t have major financial commitments, and we’re experiencing the heady jolt of making $30K+ a year for the first time in our lives.

    What recent college grads, exactly, are the Forbes people talking about here?

  2. cyrano Says:

    “What recent college grads, exactly, are the Forbes people talking about here?”

    Maybe college graduates who share Forbes’ corporatist mindset, as opposed to Dr. Florida’s creative class perspective. And as for “no financial commitments”– what percentage of young college grads are coming out to face repaying their student loans? I think it’s substantial.

    Finally, I’m a little tired of people who throw rocks at Dallas and Houston, in most case without having spent any substantial time there. Houston in particular has long been one of the US’ most diverse cities, particularly ethnically, and Dallas has grown a lot more diverse in the last quarter-century.

  3. RF Says:

    Cyrano – I’m a big Houston fan. In the original version of Rise, I went to great lengths to point out that three Texas metros – Austin, Dallas and Houston – made the top ten among large metros (population over 1 million) on the Creativity Index. Still, I have a hard time believing that they number 1, 2, 3 of the top ten cities for young college grads in the country, top 20, top 10, sure I can go for that, but 1-2-3 seems like too much weight on cost factors to me. I’d have to say that in an era of front-loader careers where establishing networks and relationships and a salary floor are key, as well as meeting potential mates, NYC, DC, San Fran, LA, Chicago and a few other place are stiff competition for recent college grads.

  4. Tory Gattis Says:

    Well, obviously, for certain industries, those cities make more sense: finance and media in NYC, govt or nonprofit in DC, tech in SF, entertainment in LA (don’t see any industry that requires being in Chicago, though). But if you’re not targeting those industries, I would think a college grad would want cities with lots of job growth to not only get a job, but move up quickly (whether within their own firm or career-hopping between firms). Texas cities can offer that, and some of the others you list are pretty anemic.

    You’re right that cost-of-living is not as big a deal when you’re a single 20-something, but it is a very big deal when you’re a married 30-something and trying to start a family – something most people eventually aspire to – and a wise college grad should consider it when deciding what city to build their career in. As far as potential mates: once you have a 100,000+ young college-educated singles in your age bracket in a metro, do your odds really change in any meaningful way from one city to another? It’s already far more people than you can ever realistically meet, much less date.