The map above charts the creative class across U.S. cities and metro regions. Nationwide, the creative class totals more than 40 million workers, more than a third of the total workforce, including professionals in the fields of science and technology, design and architecture, arts, entertainment and media, and healthcare, law, management and education.
This list of top-tier metros belies the fatalistic notion that geography is destiny. It includes many northern Frost Belt locations, among them Ann Arbor, in the very shadow of Detroit. Greater Detroit, on the other hand, scores a surprisingly high rank of 53rd, which bodes reasonably well for its future. Some of Detroit’s suburbs have among the very highest concentrations of the creative class in the nation.
The geography of the creative class has become more uneven over the past decade. Back when I did the initial metro rankings using 1999 data, the highest share of the creative class was about 35 percent. Today, it's pushing 50 percent. There are a dozen metros where it is 40 percent or more, and 34 more where it is 35–40 percent of the workforce. There are 105 metros where the creative class accounts for between 30 and 35 percent of the workforce and 162 where it makes up between 25 and 30 percent of the workforce. On the flip side, there is one metro where the creative class makes up less than 20 percent of the workforce and 48 where it accounts for between 20 and 25 percent.
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