What Are North America's Most 'Youthified' Cities?

Gentrification has famously, and controversially, changed the face of many neighborhoods. Less well known is the process that geographer Markus Moos calls "youthification," in which neighborhoods don't become richer so much as they become younger.
February 17, 2015, 7am PST | Josh Stephens | @jrstephens310
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Photo courtesy of the City of Austin, via Smart Growth America

Gentrification often means that you wake up one morning to find that your lower-income neighborhood is now crushed by high rents and awash in espresso. It can also means that longtime residents have been pushed out. In some cases, though, it's lower ages—rather than higher rents—that marks a neighborhood's transformation. 

Geographer Markus Moos has described "youthified" neighborhoods as those that are "forever young," in which young people move in, stay a while, and then are replaced by successive waves of young people. This process may entail gentrification, but it does not have to. Gentrification often means that a neighborhood becomes inexorably more expensive. Youthification involves more of a cycle. 

Not surprisingly, the places that experience the greatest levels of youthification are those awash in urban amenities and services. They tend to be relatively dense, too. The top-five cities with the largest shares of young adults are: 

  1. Salt Lake City, UT
  2. Austin, TX
  3. Calgary, Alb.
  4. Edmonton, Alb.
  5. Denver, CO
The five cities with the lowest shares of young adults are: 
  1. Pittsburgh, PA
  2. Buffalo, NY
  3. Rochester, NY
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Hartford, CT
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Published on Thursday, February 5, 2015 in CityLab
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