The Geography of Millennial Talent

Richard Florida:

Contrary to popular perception, Millennials are fairly evenly distributed among urban areas, mature suburbs, and exurbs. However, the cohort in cities tends to be far more diverse in terms of race and ethnicity. Nearly three-quarters (72.3 percent) of Millennials in exurbs are white, and more than half (51.9 percent) of those in mature suburbs are too. But urban Millennials are majority-minority: Nearly 60 percent of them are non-white. As Frey puts it: “Suburban categories get less diverse as distance from the core increases.”

But which places are attracting the most Millennial talent—the recent college grads so frequently stereotyped and mischaracterized in popular media? Is this group really so different from previous generations of smart, young people who migrated to cities?

The map from the study below shows the big picture. In 60 of the largest 100 metropolitan areas, the share of college grads within the total Millennial population ranges between 30 and 45 percent. However, some metros have much higher shares. The gap between the leading and lagging metros on Millennial talent reflects the extreme spatial inequality and polarization that define, and increasingly plague, the United States today.