Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Raleigh Named 3rd Best Market for Young Adults

Triangle Business Journal

A new study ranks Raleigh as the third best metropolitan area in the country for young adults seeking to establish themselves in a recessionary economy.

The Raleigh metro area ranked high in the categories of population growth, employment growth, share of total population and the jobless rate for people ages 18-34. Raleigh also boasts a large number of households led by people under the age of 45 with incomes of more than $100,000 and residents with bachelor’s degrees between the ages of 18 and 34, according to the new report from Portfolio.com/bizjournals.

Raleigh real estate was bested in the rankings only by No. 1 Austin, Texas, and No. 2 Washington, D.C.

Charlotte, the only other North Carolina municipality listed, ranked No. 28.

Portfolio.com/bizjournals analyzed the 67 U.S. metros with populations above 750,000, searching for qualities that would appeal to workers in their 20s and early 30s.

The study’s 10-part formula gave the highest marks to places with strong growth rates, moderate costs of living and substantial pools of young adults who are college-educated and employed.

The least desirable market for young adults, according to the Portfolio.com/bizjournals study, is Detroit, which is saddled with the nation’s worst unemployment rate for young adults, the slowest rate of income growth, and the biggest decline in overall employment.

Here’s a quick look at the top 10 metros for young people.

1. Austin: Its attractiveness to young adults is broadly based, and it ranks among the 10 leading markets in five of the categories that were analyzed. This isn’t the first time Austin takes top honors in a Portfolio.com/bizjournals analysis. Earlier this year, the city was named the best city in which to launch a small business.

2. Washington: Educated young adults flock to the nation’s capital, where 35.8 percent of all 18-to-34-year-olds hold bachelor’s degrees. The study group’s median is 23.2 percent. Per capita income ($56,510) is well above average.

3. Raleigh: This is the fastest-growing major metro in the nation. The population of the Raleigh area is increasing by 3.9 percent per year. That’s more than triple the pace for the typical market, 1.2 percent.

4. Boston: Elite universities such as Harvard and MIT give Boston its intellectual cachet. The local share of young adults with college degrees (37.6 percent) is the highest in the country.

5. Houston: Employment opportunities abound in Houston, where the job-growth rate (1.7 percent per year) ranks among the five best in the nation. And so does its annual upswing in per capita income (6.6 percent).

6. Oklahoma City: The unemployment rate for young adults is lower here than anywhere but Salt Lake City and Tulsa. Oklahoma City also enjoys the nation’s third-best pace for annual income growth, a rapid 7.2 percent.

7. Dallas-Fort Worth: The recession caused some backsliding in 2009, but Dallas-Fort Worth still has 206,000 more jobs than it did five years ago. Local population is zipping higher by 2.4 percent per year.

8. Tulsa: Here’s an area that’s a true bargain. Median rent is $508 per month in Tulsa, the third-lowest figure in the study group. Compare that to such budget-breakers as San Jose (median rent of $1,334) or Honolulu ($1,227).

9. Seattle: This high-tech metro offers a wide range of good-paying jobs. Seattle ranks among the 10 markets with the largest per capita incomes ($50,471) and smallest unemployment rates for young adults.

10. Baton Rouge
: Louisiana is on its way back from the wrath of Hurricane Katrina, and this is one of its success stories. Baton Rouge boasts a high concentration of young adults (26.1 percent) and a strong rate of income growth.

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