Here’s a neat little survey of 1000 people, aged 25-34, on where they would like to live, and why they’d make that choice.

The purpose of this research was to help an organization called CEOs for Cities, better understand an important challenge facing cities today – how to attract and retain college-educated young people.

Specifically, the research was designed to:

– Understand the importance of various attributes (community characteristics, services, and amenities) among college graduates ages 25 to 34

and, then (among other things):

– Create a rank order of the most desirable cities for college-educated young people

Their findings? Among other things:

Nearly two-thirds (64%) of college-educated young people report that the next time they look for a job, they will choose where they want to live first, then look for employment in that area.

That might come as a surprise to some!

What was most important to respondents in considering whether to move to a specific city?

1. Clean and attractive
2. “Allows me to live the life I want” (ill-defined)
3. Safe and secure
4. Affordability of housing (this is buying a house, not rent – affordability of renting is further down on the list of desirable traits)
5. Green space

What are the cities that the respondents would most likely move to?

1. New York, NY 20%
2. San Francisco, CA 14%
3. San Diego, CA 12%
4. Los Angeles, CA 10%
5. Seattle, WA 9%
6. Atlanta, GA 9%
7. Chicago, IL 8%
8. Boston, MA 8%
9. Other city in CA 8%
10. Miami, FL 6%

(Charlotte, NC was 12th and Raleigh, NC was 18th.)

What were the things that respondents liked most about these cities:

NYC
• Culture (25%)
• Great city (14%)
• Diversity (13%)
• Quality of life/lifestyle (10%)

San Francisco
• Climate/weather (34%)
• Culture (22%)
• Diversity (16%)

Seattle
• Climate/weather (22%)
• Culture (18%)
• Environment (12%)
• Close to the ocean (12%)

Boston
• History (35%)
• Culture (22%)
• Atmosphere (13%)

First off, Boston, people want to move here … so, what, they can walk the Freedom Trail?

Thank god the survey-takers realize the absurdity of respondents answers:

Despite this desire to exercise greater control about where they live, college-educated young people do not have well-formed opinions about the cities and areas they would be most or least likely to consider.

Do you think? Yes, let’s move to Seattle … for its great weather! Let’s move to San Francisco, the two months of straight rain is such a joy!

That raises a very good point, one which means you shouldn’t take the results of the survey too seriously.

The survey-takers asked people what they’d think about IF they wanted to move – they didn’t ask people who had ALREADY moved.

There’s a good chance the majority of respondents are never going to move, at all, from where they live now.

It would have been a much more helpful study, if we asked people who already moved to new cities, don’t you think? I want to know why people move to a certain city, why they stay, and why they leave.

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Updated: December 2017   1st Quarter 2018

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