Archive for the ‘Mobility - Who's Your City?’ Category

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jul 13th 2010 at 11:00am UTC

LeBron’s Location Decision

Tuesday, July 13th, 2010

In the Denver airport Thursday night, traffic literally stopped as hurried passengers froze in front of TV screens to watch LeBron James’ press conference. Who would have thought that so much would turn on, as Andy Borowitz put it, “the spectacle of an incredibly wealthy man getting a new job”?

This wasn’t Apple or Google picking a new city for their headquarters. This wasn’t the Yankees or the Celtics or the Cowboys seeking out a new place to build a stadium. It was just one person – admittedly a very talented one, but still just a single individual. “Here is James,” writes the venerable New York Times sports columnist William Rhoden, “a 25-year-old African-American man with a high school diploma, commanding a global stage.”

During the run-up to the big decision, the Wall Street Journal compiled a patently hilarious “Lifestyle Location Index,” comparing New York, Miami, Chicago, L.A., and Cleveland, the finalists in the LeBron locational derby, on taxes, luxury hotels, fancy restaurants, exclusive golf courses, high-end car dealerships, and nightlife (one can only hope they were doing this tongue in cheek). The Journal quoted Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’s Robin Leach, too: “New York gives him the high-powered world of Wall Street and super-sized apartments and Miami gives him the beach and his pals. Cleveland, that’s another story.”


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Mon May 10th 2010 at 7:58am UTC

Family Flight

Monday, May 10th, 2010

It appears that families, not just the young and skilled, have been moving away from Rustbelt cities like Cleveland, according to this story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, based on a new report from the Brookings Institution.

“White flight” described the rush of white families to the suburbs in the 1960s and 1970s. By the 1980s, observers talked of “middle-class flight” to reflect black residents who had joined the tide.  A new pattern may demand a new label. Research shows that an exodus of moms and dads of all races and income levels — family flight — is reshaping Cleveland and its region.  Cleveland lost nearly 10 percent of its people this decade and married couples with children led the stampede, a study released today reveals. An emptying city, meanwhile, drew few of the immigrant families replenishing communities elsewhere, resulting in swift decline.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Sun Apr 18th 2010 at 9:30am UTC

You Are Where You Live

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

The great folks at GOOD magazine interviewed me for their neighborhoods issue.  Here it is.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Apr 13th 2010 at 8:00am UTC

Who Stays

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010


Sure, I’ve always been a huge fan of The Clash. Thus the title of this new paper, “Should I Stay or Should I Go, Now: The Effects of Community Satisfaction on the Decision to Stay or Move,” coauthored with my colleagues Charlotta Mellander and Kevin Stolarick. Most research has looked at why people choose to move. This paper turns that on its head and examines why people choose to stay. Interestingly enough, characteristics of the place itself appear to play the biggest role, trumping individual characteristics like income, education, age, and the like. And it’s not economic conditions – like the job market or economic opportunity – that matter most. Rather it’s the ability to forge meaningful and lasting social relationships and the quality of the place itself which have the biggest effect on the decision to stay. Here’s the abstract:


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Mar 25th 2010 at 8:36pm UTC

Who’s Your LegoClick City?

Thursday, March 25th, 2010



Now this is pretty cool.  The great graphic above is from the folks at LegoClick.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Nov 4th 2009 at 4:38pm UTC

Global Movers

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009


New research by the Gallup Organization finds that 700 million people – 16 percent of the world’s total population – would like to move to a different country than the one they currently call home.

The first map below shows the percentages of people in various regions of the world that desire to permanently move to another country.

movers.gifThe second map shows the places these movers would most like to relocate to.

destinations.gifGallup also compiled a very interesting index of potential net migration which compares “the estimated number of adults who would like to move out of a country permanently subtracted from the estimated number who would like to move to it,” as a proportion of the total population. Here are the top five and bottom five countries. Interestingly, the United States did not make the top five.


Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Thu Oct 1st 2009 at 9:30am UTC

Where the Kids Are Heading

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

The Wall Street Journal asked six experts to come up with lists of the “next youth magnet cities.” I was one of them. The top spot was a tie – D.C. and Seattle, followed by NYC, Portland (OR), Austin, San Jose, Denver, Raleigh-Durham, Dallas, Chicago, and Boston. You can see the list and read the full story here.

Below is what I sent to the Journal.

My Rankings
These are based on my own rankings of the best places for young, professional singles, aged 20-29 in Who’s Your City?, as well as other rankings and surveys and my reading of current trends. The data are from Kevin Stolarick, additional analysis by Charlotta Mellander, and research assistance by Patrick Adler, my colleagues at the Martin Prosperity Institute.

1) New York City
The country’s largest city was the top destination for recent graduates according to the career-cast survey noted below. The city’s size affords migrants an economic diversity that simply cannot exist in smaller places. It’s the place to be if you’re in finance, fashion, entertainment, publishing, or even indie music. Also unparalleled is the city’s mythic status, as a place to test one’s mettle against the best and the brightest. One of the top five on my own rankings of the best places for young, single, 20-29-year-olds.

2) Washington, D.C
The public sector is ascendant and, in the eyes of many, Barack Obama is America’s coolest boss. These factors will only bolster Washington, D.C., a city that is already a hotbed of young talent. 45.9 percent of Washington, D.C.’s workforce has a bachelor’s degree or more, and young people enjoy positions of influence on congressional staffs and at think tanks. And it is a center for media, journalism, and blogging as well as high-tech. D.C. is the top city in my own rankings of best places for young singles aged 20-29. If I was 23 or 24 again, it’s where I’d head.

3) San Francisco/ Silicon Valley
Still the world’s high-tech hot spot. One of the top five on my own rankings. Great quality of life, a large stock of smart, driven young people, and fantastic restaurants and outdoor activities.

4) Chicago
If management or industry is your thing, Chicago is the place to be. It’s the talent magnet for the midwest and beyond, drawing driven young people by the droves. It has great amenities, great nightlife, a spectacular waterfront, great restaurants, and it’s affordable.

5) Boulder/ Denver
Yes, it’s smaller than the others, but it packs a real punch. Boulder ranked No. 1 among all U.S. destinations on my own rankings of the best places for young singles 20-29. Now add in Denver and it has the size and scale to be a great place for young professionals. It has thriving, high-tech industries about the best outdoor recreation – from skiing to cycling – to be had anywhere.

6) L.A.
If you want a career in film, entertainment, fashion, or music, it’s the place to be. Sure, it’s crowded, pricey, and the traffic is horrible, but it has abundant sunshine, great temperatures, unbelievable beaches, and fantastic restaurants.

7) Boston
It’s always been a great “stay-over” town for the thousands of regional college grads. This year, it surpassed NYC as the No. 1 destination for Harvard grads. It’s the world center for management consulting with strong finance and high-tech industries. Not to mention a great place to stick around, work for awhile, and go back to grad school.

8) Seattle
A high-tech and lifestyle mecca in its own right with Amazon, Microsoft, and more. It’s also a center for cutting-edge retail with Starbucks, Costco, and REI. Quality of place by the boatloads.

9) Austin
What can you say about a place whose motto is “Keep Austin Weird”? It remains a high-tech player, with great quality of life that’s affordable. It’s the indie music capital of the universe with SXSW and Austin City Limits and a great array of local venues. Plus, with residents like Lance Armstrong, it’s a cyclist and outdoor enthusiast’s paradise.

10) Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill
Another great high-tech, university, smart city, which boasts a mild climate, highly educated population, great outdoor activities, and a great music scene.

Runners-Up/Honorable Mention:

  • Madison, Wisconsin, and Ann Arbor, Michigan – Both great stay-over college towns that rank very high on my own rankings. College towns in general perform well in this demographic; they’ve coped reasonably well with the recession and are good places to stay or head, at least for a while
  • Atlanta and Minneapolis: Regional talent magnets for the southeast and Great Lakes/Plains respectively.
  • Outside the U.S.: London, Toronto, Shanghai, Sydney-Melbourne-Brisbane.

Key factors affecting location of young, college-educated singles
Even with signs that the worst of the Great Recession is over, young people are understandably worried about their economic future. This past May, the Wall Street Journal reported that some of the past decade’s “youth magnet” locations are losing their appeal as economic opportunities whither in cities like Phoenix, Seattle, Atlanta, Charlotte, Dallas, Las Vegas, and others which led the nation in attracting young college grads from 2005 to 2007. So where are young, educated, single people heading?

A recent survey lists the best places for college grads to launch their careers. New York City topped the list – despite the financial crisis – with eight in 10 survey respondents listing it as one of their top destinations. Second-place Washington, D.C. was named by 63 percent. Los Angeles, Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, Denver, Seattle, and San Diego round out the top 10. And, remember, this is a list of the places that are best to find a job, not to have fun, go to great restaurants or clubs, make friends, or get lots of dates.

The list is heavy on big cities, and it’s remarkably similar to a comprehensive list my research team and I developed for my book Who’s Your City? of the best places for college-educated 20- to 29-year-olds. It also put big cities such as San Francisco, Washington, Boston, Los Angeles, and New York on top. (D.C. jumped to the top of the list when we factored affordability and cost into the mix.) College towns also did well, with Madison, WI, topping the list for medium-size regions, and Boulder, CO, taking first place for small regions. Raleigh, N.C.; Ann Arbor, MI; and New Haven, CT also score well. To get at the factors that attract and keep Gen Y in certain places, my colleague Charlotta Mellander and I analyzed the results of a Gallup survey of some 28,000 Americans.

First off, young, educated people are considerably less attached to where they live and considerably more mobile than other Americans. About a quarter (26.5 percent) of them said they were extremely satisfied with the place they currently live, compared with nearly half (47.4 percent) of all Americans. Twenty-somethings are, on average, three or four times more likely to move than 40- or 50-somethings.

Jobs are clearly important. Gen Y members ranked the availability of jobs second when asked what would keep them in their current location and fourth in terms of their overall satisfaction with their community. But it’s more than just a job. Young people today are faced with dwindling corporate commitment; job tenure has grown far shorter and people switch jobs with much greater frequency. That means picking a location which not only offers a great job but a thick labor market with abundant career opportunity, as a hedge against economic uncertainty and the risk of layoff.

But the highest-ranked factor is the ability to meet people and make friends. Young, educated people intuitively understand what economic sociologists have documented: Vibrant social networks are key to landing jobs, moving forward in your career, and one’s broader personal happiness. They not only desire a thick labor market but what I have come to call a thick mating market where they can meet new people, go out on dates, and eventually find a life partner. What do you think is more important to happiness: Finding a great job or finding the right life partner?

Where older Americans see high-quality schools and safe streets as key, Gen Y understandably ranks the availability of outstanding colleges and universities higher. Many are likely to go back to graduate school and having great programs nearby is a big plus. When it comes to their overall community satisfaction, access to open space, being in an aesthetically beautiful city, and having access to vibrant nightlife are also quite important. Affordable housing, air, and water quality, and availability of religious institutions matter too but slightly less so.

My own assessment is that finding the right place to live is among the three most important decisions of your life. Moving is an expensive and time-consuming proposition; mistakes can be costly to fix or undo.

CCE Editor
by CCE Editor
Mon Sep 21st 2009 at 1:49pm UTC

Future Forward

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The Center for Economic Growth and The Stakeholders present Future Forward, an event featuring Richard Florida, at the Palace Theatre in Albany, New York, on September 24, 2009. Richard will speak about Who’s Your City? and why the creative economy is making where you live one of the most important decisions of your life. A book signing and after party are also part of the evening’s festivities.

Do you feel that you live in the right city? Or is there a move in your future?

 Jeff Stone, presi...dent of Key Bank, NA, Capital Region New York District

From left to right: Richard Florida; Mayor of Albany, New York, Gerald D. Jennings; Jeff Stone, president of Key Bank, NA, Capital Region New York District; City Champion Catherine M. Hedgeman; President, Center for Economic Growth, Michael Tucker

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Wed Jul 15th 2009 at 2:43pm UTC

Who’s Your NBA City?

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

You can add professional basketballer Hedo Turkoglu to the list of people who have relocated to Toronto thanks to its cosmopolitanism. Turkoglu, one of the most sought-after free agents on the market this year, is moving to Toronto with his wife because of its large Turkish community and international flavor. Turkoglu has reportedly rebuffed the Portland Trailblazers, a team that is thought to have more upside, to join the Raptors who did not make the playoffs last year. Money quote from his agent Lon Babby:

“It’s a uniquely cosmopolitan and international community and it suits him and his family best…The comfort level was just best in Toronto.”

Where will the Turkoglu’s new home be? From the looks of it, they will have a ton of options.

Richard Florida
by Richard Florida
Tue Jul 14th 2009 at 9:17am UTC

Housing and Mobility

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

A new study finds that housing prices have had a big effect on recent mobility. Here’s a snippet from Real Time Economics.

Housing affordability has played a greater role in prompting residents to leave one state for another over the past decade, according to a study released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

This is a change from the past, when jobs were the primary economic driving factor behind state-to-state migration. The study helps explain why migration has fallen off so sharply in this recession — with the drastic fall in housing prices, many people are staying put not for work but because they are tied to a home they either cannot sell or refuse to sell at today’s prices.

The FRB study focuses on New England, which for years has seen a net outflow of residents to other states. The author, Boston Fed economist Alicia Sasser, shows that job growth (or lack thereof) and housing prices played equal roles in New England’s out-migration between 1997 and 2006. Between 2001 and 2006 about 100,000 additional people left Massachusetts either for a job or to seek lower housing prices, according to Ms. Sasser’s research. Roughly 60% of those people left for housing affordability …

Mr. Sasser’s study may give a glimmer of hope to states that have lost people, at least high-cost states like Massachusetts that have lost people to places with lower-priced housing (cities like Buffalo that have lost jobs will likely continue to lose residents.) When the economy eventually picks up, lower housing prices may bring the balance between jobs and home prices back into equilibrium, prompting more New Englanders to stay where they are or even move back.