Where Are the 'Young and Restless' Going?

Increasingly, well-educated young people, 25- to 35-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher, are moving to the urban cores of the U.S.’s largest cities. Nashville is no exception. “The Young and the Restless and the Nation’s Cities” report, recently published by City Observatory, used data from the American Community Survey to cover this important trend.  

The rate of migration in the United States has been slowing for the past two decades, but young adults with four-year college degrees continue to be among the most mobile demographic. The migration of this talent is driving economic growth and revitalization. In Nashville, the number of well-educated young people in our city center increased 61 percent from 2000 to 2012. In addition, the four-year degree attainment rate of 25-to 34-year-olds increased from 31.6 percent in 2000 to 38.8 percent in 2012.

The growing preference of talented young workers for downtown living is influencing the location decisions of companies. In the knowledge economy, access to talent is a critical competitive factor for fast-growing firms. In Nashville, ServiceSource, Asurion, UBS and Bridgestone have all recently decided to locate or expand in the urban core.

Well-educated people are more likely to move, and the likelihood of migrating declines steadily with age. The decisions twentysomethings make about where to live will have long-lasting demographic and economic consequences. We must continue to build a great place to live to attract a high-quality talent pool to our region.

 Migration, coupled with increased degree attainment among our citizens, will drive new opportunities and prosperity for all.

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