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The Geography of Millennial Talent

Millennials are more distributed across cities, suburbs, and exurbs than is commonly thought, but the clustering of college graduates does reinforce the country’s spatial inequality.
Millennial paradise?
Millennial paradise? Bebeto Matthews/AP

Cities are falling all over themselves to woo Millennial talent, seeing it as key to bolstering their high-tech ecosystems, generating innovation, and spurring economic growth. The recipe for attracting that talent, which I laid out a decade and a half ago in The Rise of the Creative Class (following Jane Jacobs decades earlier), includes fostering the arts and creativity, investing in transit and bike lanes, opening up to diversity, creating denser, more walkable neighborhoods, and building quality of place.

New research by Brookings Institution demographer William Frey takes a close look at the geography of older Millennials, those aged 25 to 34, with a college degree or more. His study paints an intriguing picture of a generation that is more diverse and more widely distributed geographically than the stereotypes would have us believe.