By Jenny Connelly-Bowen, CBN Graduate Research Assistant

This week’s maps come from to us from Alan Mallach and PolicyMap and examine the growth of college-educated Millennials in the St. Louis region. Alex Ihnen’s NextSTL column from 2014 reports that in the City of St. Louis, the net migration rate for those aged 25-29 turned from a negative 28.1 percent during the 1970s to a positive 35 percent during the 2000s. Ihnen argues that this pattern of Millennial influx is reviving urban centers across the country and has the potential to transform St. Louis into “a technology hub, an entrepreneurial center, a smart city, a vibrant city, and an economically healthy city.”

Millennials matter for economic development in cities because they prefer to live close to where they work. In a 2015 article, Stephanie Hanes credits Millennial preferences with the relocation of many businesses from suburbs to urban areas. Hanes notes that two-thirds of 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree live in the United States’ 51 largest metropolitan areas. These young adults bring spending power to their communities: Millennials have finished college at rates higher than previous U.S. generations and tend to earn more as a result. In 2014, the Pew Research Center reported that between 1984 and 2009, the median monthly income for 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree increased by 13 percent. Those without a bachelor’s degree earned less in real terms in 2009 than they did in 1984.

What do these trends look like in St. Louis? The maps below highlight (in dark blue) census tracts where both of the following are true:

  • Over 50 percent of residing adults have a bachelor’s degree or higher.
  • At least 25 percent of the population is between 25 and 34 years old.

The first map includes data from the year 2000. The second covers 2010 through 2014.

St. Louis 2000 25%25 25-34

St. Louis_2010-2014 25%25 25-34

These maps track a pattern of population change similar to those outlined by the articles above: in the year 2000, only one census tract was comprised of at least 25 percent young adults and 50 percent adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher. By contrast, data from 2010 to 2014 show 12 census tracts that fit this criteria, primarily in parts of Skinker DeBaliviere, Hi-Pointe, the Central West End, Tower Grove South, Soulard, and Downtown. Neighborhoods across St. Louis appear to be experiencing an influx of college-educated Millennials.