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Urban centers draw more young, educated adults
By Haya El Nasser


Educated 20- and 30-somethings are flocking to live downtown in the USA's largest cities — even urban centers that are losing population.

In more than two-thirds of the nation's 51 largest cities, the young, college-educated population in the past decade grew twice as fast within 3 miles of the urban center as in the rest of the metropolitan area — up an average 26% compared with 13% in other parts.

Even in Detroit, where the population shrank by 25% since 2000, downtown added 2,000 young and educated residents during that time, up 59% , according to analysis of Census data by Impresa Inc., an economic consulting firm.

"This is a real glimmer of hope," says Carol Coletta, head of CEOs for Cities, a non-profit consortium of city leaders that commissioned the research. "Clearly, the next generation of Americans is looking for different kinds of lifestyles — walkable, art, culture, entertainment."

In Cleveland, which lost 17% of its population, downtown added 1,300 college-educated people ages 25 to 34, up 49%.

"It tells us we've been on the right track," says David Egner, president and CEO of Detroit's Hudson-Webber Foundation. Three anchor institutions —Wayne State University, Henry Ford Health System, Detroit Medical Center — recently launched "15 by 15," a campaign to bring 15,000 young, educated people to the downtown area by 201

Among the lures are cash incentives: a $25,000 forgivable loan to buy (need to stay at least five years) downtown or $3,500 on a two-year lease.

Preference for urban living among young adults — especially the well-educated — has increased sharply, data show:

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