'Rust Belt Chic' Not Enough to Attract Millennials in Some Cities

The city of Toledo, Ohio provides a case study in how the best intentions of attracting degree-holding Millennials can come up short.

August 22, 2016, 8:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Michael Shake / Shutterstock

"Toledo continues to show signs of becoming more cool, hip, and attractive to college-educated young people," report Tom Henry and Gabby Deutch,"[b]ut statistics show the rebranding effort isn’t generating results as quickly as people want."

The article shares the results of a study of U.S. Census data commissioned by the Pew Charitable Trusts, finding that "Toledo ranked only 455th out of 521 U.S. cities for percentage growth of degree-holding Millennials between 2000 and 2014."

The article also compares the data on Millennials in Toledo to the data from other cities likes Baltimore, St. Louis, and Pittsburgh, which have all had more success in the effort. The article describes the data from Toledo as an example of the limitations of the "Rust Belt chic" model of redeveloping old buildings "with character," but "nearly 10 years after the Toledo Regional Chamber of Commerce launched a campaign to halt the so-called 'brain drain' Toledo and other Rust Belt cities were experiencing, the city is finding that retaining and attracting more college-educated Millennials require more than just a good coffeehouse," write Henry and Deutch.

The article calls on national experts, like William Frey from the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program, and local academics to paint a detailed portrait of the many community and economic development underway in recent years in Toledo.

Sunday, August 21, 2016 in Toledo Blade

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