The study confirms a great deal of existing research - the people most likely to migrate are young, single, and college-educated. 25-34 year olds have graduated and have a good idea where their career is going, but haven’t yet formed deep roots in a community. This is a double-edged sword - for many communities as much a liability as an opportunity.??
The positive economic cycle cities want all begins with talent. From the report: “a region begins by attracting capable people though existing employers, its university system and an attractive local lifestyle. A growing talent pool then attracts new employers who seek a skilled workforce. This growth in knowledge-based industries, in turn, attracts even more well-educated and skilled people, and so on. Meanwhile, local governments, driven by an expanding tax base, work to create a pleasant and safe living environment with good schools, while entrepreneurs tap into the new high incomes to build attractive housing and open restaurants, entertainment venues and services businesses.”??
So what attracts talent? Quality of life alone is not good enough. In fact, the report suggests that an improvement in quality of life alone will only result in a greater number of resident retirees. In fact, it is economic opportunity (the factors included in our ‘Earning’ index) that will attract talent over all other factors (with Cost of Lifestyle following a close second, according to our recent research).??
But once those ‘pillars’ are in place, the competition does center around quality of life. From the report: “Mobile high-value workers will have choices among highly productive regions and will choose a region based, in part, on the degree to which that region offers an attractive lifestyle.”
The report lists four categories of quality of life amenities, which closely mirror our Seven Indexes:
- Natural environment (including many factors we measure in the Vitality index)
- Social environment (Social Capital)
- Built environment (Vitality and Around Town)
- Public and private services (After Hours, Around Town, and Learning)
If your city provides a solid breadth of career opportunities, you’re in the game. But now that you’re in the game, you’ve got to play. How does your city stack up in the quality of life amenities those mobile 25-34 year olds are looking for?
[Note: this blog was originally written by our former staffer, Peter Moorhouse.]