(*Updated) Study Finds Fewer Young Adults Moving into Cities than Moving Away

An article on the Metro Trends Blog finds that data do not support the common narrative that young people are moving to cities in huge numbers. Most cities, according to the study, lost more adults aged 20-35 than they gained between 2000 and 2012.
April 13, 2014, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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*Updated: April 17, 2014. The authors of the original article have since printed corrections: "We've posted amended text, charts, and conclusions..." Click through to see the changes they made. 

“Despite the damage wrought by the mortgage crisis of 2008 and the ensuing Great Recession, the general narrative has been that an increasing number of young, educated, and (largely) white people are moving back into urban neighborhoods, bringing their tastes, lifestyles, and salaries along with them,” write Eric Burnstein and Megan Gallagher.

“But is this narrative driven by a handful of hipsters in Brooklyn and San Francisco or by urban revitalization trends in multiple places?”

To answer the question, Burnstein and Gallagher examined demographic change for 10 mid- to large-sized cities in 2000 and 2012. Of the cities they examined, only Charlotte, North Carolina (6.65 percent) and Washington D.C. (2.77 percent) saw more adults between the ages of 20 and 35 move to town than moved away.

Burnstein and Gallagher did, however, find increasing numbers of college-educated people in all of the examined cities. Also, half the cities—Charlotte, Austin, Portland, Denver, and Columbus—increased in numbers of families with children under the age of 18.

“We know that revitalization is happening in the neighborhoods of many American cities,” write Burnstein and Gallagher to conclude, “But what the numbers here tell us is that gentrification is not the only change these cities are seeing, and in many cases, may not be the dominant trend, even in healthy cities.”

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Published on Saturday, April 12, 2014 in Metro Trends
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