Census 2010: Why The Urban Core Matters

April 12, 2011 46 comments Open printer friendly version of this article Print Article

"This is no longer anecdotal. Every metro area has good suburbs, but if you don't have a strong downtown and close-in neighborhoods, then you're not offering a choice that many of them are seeking. Offering that choice is a real competitive advantage for cities." - Carol Coletta, head of CEOs for Cities.



Recent census results indicate that educated, young adults are flocking to urban core neighborhoods throughout the country, including those cities with significant population decline.

"Clearly, the next generation of Americans is looking for different kinds of lifestyles — walkable, art, culture, entertainment." - Carol Coletta, head of CEOs for Cities

Census 2010  Young Population Results

Gain from 2000 to 2009 in 25- to 34-year-olds who have a four-year degree or higher and live within three miles of a metro area's central business district:





Metro AreaGainPercent Change
Atlanta9,722.261%
Austin3,725.624%
Baltimore8,625.066%
Birmingham, Ala.-601.0-12%
Boston20,558.040%
Buffalo1,101.127%
Charlotte2,180.134%
Chicago15,886.633%
Cincinnati2,000.928%
Cleveland1,301.749%
Columbus, Ohio4,032.945%
Dallas5,080.656%
Denver5,236.925%
Detroit1,967.659%
Hartford, Conn.426.68%
Houston6,518.962%
Indianapolis2,669.683%
Jacksonville610.841%
Kansas City, Mo.-Kan.1,300.350%
Las Vegas304.419%
Los Angeles5,695.255%
Louisville443.810%
Memphis964.526%
Miami4,378.268%
Milwaukee3,655.738%
Minneapolis4,268.823%
Nashville1,936.741%
New Orleans-2,220.8-24%
New York26,125.913%
Oklahoma City106.25%
Orlando1,692.528%
Philadelphia16,032.257%
Phoenix306.514%
Pittsburgh3,154.940%
Portland, Ore.4,083.322%
Providence3,484.338%
Raleigh, N.C.1,670.828%
Richmond, Va.1,058.516%
Riverside, Calif.1,572.865%
Rochester, N.Y.809.88%
Sacramento2,053.628%
St. Louis2,699.687%
Salt Lake City1,903.021%
San Antonio146.77%
San Diego5,638.454%
San Francisco3,809.35%
San Jose1,201.410%
Seattle5,696.424%
Tampa974.221%
Virginia Beach566.715%
Washington13,610.231%

Source: United States Census Bureau


What This Means For Jacksonville

While we can have opinionated debates concerning the importance of our urban core neighborhoods and their economic impact on our city's future, the actual numbers don't lie. Regardless of what many locally believe, downtown and the surrounding urban neighborhoods aren't like all the other neighborhoods in our community. The density, existing infrastructure investment and mixed-use nature of downtowns and their context makes them vital economic engines for municipalities throughout the country.

If we're serious about getting our financial house in order and stimulating jobs locally, we need to change our overall attitude on the role that urban core neighborhoods play in the ultimate well-being of Jacksonville.

Article by Ennis Davis