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Educated Young Adults Choose “Place” before Job
Detail: Findings of a U.S. survey commissioned by CEOs for Cities and conducted by The Segmentation Company, a division of marketing consultancy Yankelovich Inc. shows that two-thirds of highly mobile 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees say that they will decide where they live first, then look for a job.

The results are based on online surveys of 1,000 25- to 34-year-old college-educated men and women from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations conducted in March 3-11, 2006. This survey for the first time quantifies the urban living preferences of this mobile young group.

Key findings include:

– Two-thirds of college-educated 25 to 34 year-olds choose place before job, and this preference was true across all life stages and genders (male, female, single, married, with children, without children).

– Women place greater emphasis on the location decision than do men, although a majority of men also say they choose place before job.

– Basic quality of life issues (clean and attractive, can live the life I want to lead, safe streets and neighborhoods, can afford to buy a home, lots of parks and green space) ranked highest among attributes that young people looked for in a city.

– A place that feels welcoming, offers professional opportunities, has reasonable commute times, access to excellent schools, is a great place to raise children, is a place people are proud to say they live in were among attributes young people looked for in a city.

– Lifestyle attributes are also important to this demographic. They prefer places where they can connect with others and have meaningful social interactions; that are interesting and diverse; and are environmentally responsible.

– Young adults have a strong inclination to live downtown or close to downtown.

– Knowledge of city attributes is limited. When asked where they would like to live, respondents were quick to answer. But when asked why, their reasons were vague.

– Young adults rely most heavily on personal stories from friends and family to form their perceptions about a place. They also use the Internet and personal visits to shape their opinions.

CEOs for Cities outlines the opportunities for urban leaders to attract and retain this desirable demographic:

– Make sure your city is clean, green, safe and inviting. The basic functions such as trash collection and keeping parks maintained and litter off the streets will go a long way to bringing and keeping young people.

– Make it easy for young people to reach their aspirations and goals, foster their want for personal and professional success by, for instance, naming a talent czar who guides entrepreneurs through the process of starting a new business in the city. The aura of opportunity is very powerful.

– Young people are 30 percent more likely than other Americans to live within three miles of a city’s center. So highlight downtowns and close-in neighborhoods.

– Develop a compelling narrative about the city. Define and brand the city and market that image to young people. But don’t promise something that can’t be delivered. And don’t settle for a tagline, logo or slogan to do the job.

– Work with local stakeholders to build a dynamic web presence that is appealing to tech and design-savvy young people and that accurately portrays your city’s narrative.
Source: Press release “College-Educated, Young Adults Consider “Place” First When Choosing Locations”
Date: June 23 2008