Smart people of the highly educated sort that economists refer to as “human capital” are key engines of economic growth and development. More and more, they have been clustering in a relative handful of big cities. A recent post by Aaron M. Renn, who blogs as The Urbanophile, charts the changing density of college educated people across U.S. metro areas. His analysis builds on an earlier analysis by Rob Pitingolo (I blogged about it here) which introduced a measure of human capital density.
Archive for December, 2010
The U.S. housing market is on track to lose another $1.7 trillion in value this year, according to estimates by the real estate site Zillow.com — 63 percent more than the $1 trillion lost in 2009. All told, the U.S. housing market has lost a staggering $9 trillion in value since its peak in 2006, according to Congressional Research Service estimates.
The great economic reset we are in the midst of extends even to Americans’ choices of places to live. The popularity of sprawling auto-dependent suburbs is waning. A majority of Americans – six in 10 – say they would prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods, in both cities and suburbs, if they could. Writing in The Wall Street Journal a few months ago, I noted how changes in our economy and demography are altering “the texture of suburban life in favor of denser, more walkable, mixed-use communities.” Christopher Leinberger has shown the positive effects of walkability in cities, towns, and suburbs; the architects Ellen Dunham Jones and June Williamson have detailed ways that older car-oriented suburbs can be retrofitted into more people-friendly, mixed-use, walkable communities. And walkability pays. According to research by Joe Cortright, housing prices have held up better in more walkable communities. (more…)
Just as people with higher levels of education have fared better during the Great Recession, cities and regions with higher levels of human capital have experienced lower rates of unemployment and higher wages. But human capital, which takes into account only the level of a worker’s education, is a crude measure – some of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, are college dropouts.
A while back, I wrote about research done by my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI), that took data provided by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ O*NET Project on actual skills (physical skills of the sort used in manufacturing, analytical or cognitive skills, and social intelligence skills like the ability to direct teams, form entrepreneurial new businesses and organizations, and mobilize people and resources behind common causes and objectives) and charted their relations to the economic performance of cities and regions. (more…)