Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Raleigh Voted # 1 City For Young Homeowners

Youthful spirit and economic vitality go hand in hand. Communities with large concentrations of young adults are more likely to prosper, according to a new bizjournals study. The correlation is driven home by the study's comparison of metropolitan areas that skew young or old.

Group No. 1 consists of the 11 major markets where more than 25 percent of all residents are 18 to 34 years old. Group No. 2 contains 14 metros where fewer than 22 percent are young adults. Here's how they match up:

-- The young markets have been experiencing population growth of 2.1 percent per year since 2000. That's seven times the growth rate of 0.3 percent for the old markets.

-- The annual rate of job growth is 1.9 percent in the young metros compared to 0.4 percent in their older counterparts.

-- Personal income is climbing at a median pace of 3.4 percent per year in the young markets. The corresponding figure is 2.8 percent on the old side.

It's clear that having a high percentage of young adults can be an indicator of economic success. It tells marketers where to concentrate their efforts, entrepreneurs where to start businesses, and college graduates where to look for work. Raleigh is also the number one city for Raleigh Web Design, Web Design Raleigh, SEO Raleigh, Web Development Raleigh and Raleigh Web Development.

But which markets offer the best prospects for people in the 18-34 age range these days? Bizjournals sought the answer by analyzing growth patterns, income levels and other key statistics to rank the nation's 67 largest metros as BEST PLACES FOR YOUNG ADULTS. These are the five places currently offering the best job opportunities for young adults:

-- 1. Raleigh: This is the only market to finish in the top 10 in three key categories: population growth, job growth, and the percentage of young adults with college degrees. Raleigh is also blessed with a relatively low cost of living.

-- 2. Austin: Twenty-nine percent of Austin's residents are between the ages of 18 and 34. That's the heaviest concentration of young adults in any major metro.

-- 3. Washington: The District of Columbia can be an expensive place to live, but paychecks for workers in their 20s and 30s are among the highest in the nation.

-- 4. Las Vegas: The economy has slowed in Las Vegas in recent months, yet it remains the national leader in job growth since 2002, averaging 4.9 percent per year.

-- 5. Phoenix: The unemployment rate for 18- to 34-year-olds in Phoenix is 5.4 percent. That's three full percentage points below the U.S. average for the same age group.

Rounding out the TOP TEN in bizjournals' rankings of employment prospects for young adults are Salt Lake City, Charlotte, Seattle, Orlando and Houston. Bizjournals analyzed 67 major metropolitan areas, searching for qualities that would appeal to workers in their 20s and early 30s. THE FORMULA gave the highest marks to places with strong growth rates, moderate costs of living, and substantial pools of young college-educated adults with jobs.

The Sunbelt dominates the upper echelon in the national rankings. Eight of the 20 best markets for young adults are in the South, and seven are in the West.

Four of the five remaining slots are occupied by Eastern communities, while Minneapolis-St. Paul is the only Midwestern metro to make the top 20. The competition to attract new and recent graduates to these labor markets is intensifying, partly because young adults are getter choosier. "College-educated young people are looking for greater control over where they live," concluded a 2006 study by The Segmentation Co., a national research firm that surveyed 1,000 adults between the ages of 25 and 34. All of these respondents held college degrees and had lived in at least two communities since leaving school.

Quality-of-life issues are of prime importance to these mobile young workers. They told The Segmentation Co. that they're looking for places that offer strong professional opportunities, have good schools, and are affordable and clean. The same factors were important components of bizjournals' 10-part formula, which analyzed each market's job-growth rate, education levels, and median rents, among other indicators.

The least desirable market for young adults, according to bizjournals, is New Orleans, sitting dead last in 67th place. New Orleans, which is still struggling to recover from the damage inflicted by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005, has the worst long-term rates of job and population growth in the study.