If there’s one thing that any rebounding city needs, it’s college graduates. I’m not just asking about graduating the higher ed students that go to school in Buffalo, I’m talking about retaining them. For years, Buffalo (and other Rust Belt cities) would groom college and university graduates and then lose them to the usual suspect cities.
At the same time, we had a hard time attracting college graduates from other cities. Poor economy, weather, lame waterfront, major University located on a swamp (many students didn’t even venture into the city), no cranes in the air, struggling commercial and residential neighborhoods… the list goes on.
Today, a much different picture is being painted in Buffalo, and as graduates get priced out of places like Boston and New York, many are turning to cities like Buffalo to make a mark for themselves.
The NYTimes has published a succinct article that shows that cities such as Buffalo are finally retaining the ever elusive college grads (see here). Since the year 2000, the number of college grads (aged 25 to 34) living within a radius of 3 miles from the city center has risen 34%. That’s an even higher percentage than the top 51 metro areas average, which turns out to be 25% (see here).
We all know what a higher percentage of college grads can do for a city. We also know that college grads who are happy living in a city, tend to attract more college grads via the growing vibrancy of the neighborhoods. Those college grads help to support the economy and a ripple effect of jobs, from waitresses to architects. These young people are the ones that are helping to turn around this city.
According to the NYTimes article, “They want something exciting, culturally fun, involving a lot of diversity — and their fathers’ suburban lifestyle doesn’t seem to be all that thrilling to many of them,” said Edward Glaeser, economist at Harvard and author of “Triumph of the City”.
How many eventually desert the city centers as they age remains to be seen, but demographers predict that many will stay. They say that could not only bolster city economies, but also lead to decreases in crime and improvements in public schools. If the trends continue, places like Pittsburgh and Buffalo could develop a new reputation — as role models for resurgence. – NYTimes
Also, check out this recent post in the Village Voice – “Young People Still Long to Move to New York. They’re just going to Buffalo Now. Click here.