The Brookings Institution’s new report on “job proximity” contains very good news for those American urban areas that are already doing well in terms of economic growth. It also contains some very bad news for those areas that are not doing so well, including most small and mid-size cities and rural areas. Job proximity refers to how many jobs are located close to people–something that happens more commonly in denser urban areas.
The Atlantic has a very good piece on the Brookings report, and makes the point that the job proximity chart essentially overlaps one for cities where college graduates locate and one for the most populous cities, too. What this means is that those metropolitan areas already doing well–NYC, LA, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, Philadelphia, DC–can be expected to continue to do well. Success begets success when it comes to economic growth. People want to be where the action is, and once they move there they create more action.
“Even as older and less educated Americans are moving to the suburbs, young people with college degrees are moving toward density, and their migratory patterns are encouraging future young people to follow in their steps.”
The flip side of this is that areas doing less well will continue to do less well, assuming the economy continues to favor an educated, energetic workforce. Demography continues to be destiny; independent schools take note.