Young Professionals in Urban Core Bode Well for Cleveland’s Future

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The study from Portland think tank City Observatory looked at two key factors of cities’ economic health: well-educated young adults, and central, urban neighborhoods.

"The good news from our survey is that Cleveland had a substantial increase in the number of well-educated young adults living in these close-in urban neighborhoods over the last decade," said economist Joe Cortright, who authored the study. The young and well-educated are desirable employees – skilled but cheap. So where they go, growing companies tend to follow, he said. And increasingly, those mobile young people are seeking out urban life.

In 2000, about 26 hundred 25-to-34-year-olds with at least a four-year degree lived within three miles of Cleveland’s downtown. By 2012, that figure had almost doubled, to nearly 5 thousand.

Jill Pecoraro runs programs on civic engagement for young professionals at the Cleveland Leadership Center. She says that group is attracted to areas like Ohio City and Tremont because of their intimacy and bustle, the sense that neighbors can pull together to make positive change.

"They really love to feel that they could make a community impact," she said.

Cortright emphasized a big part of that impact is economic. The study shows the trend in metro areas across the country. While Cleveland isn’t leading the pack, Cortright said, the city’s moving in the right direction.

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