Lots of Young, Educated People Are Moving to Miami, and They're Living Near Downtown

For years, a prevailing knock on Miami has been that the young and educated move away in a perpetual brain drain to towns with more diverse, tech-driven economies. Sure, the Magic City is lovely, they said, if you want to work in real estate or restaurants.

Well, a new study throws cold water on that idea. In fact, its authors found, Miami's share of 25- to 34-year-olds with a college degree has leaped by nearly 25 percent in the past decade. And a huge percentage of those new residents are living near the urban core.

The stats come from City Observatory, a Portland, Oregon-based think tank supported by the Knight Foundation dedicated to crunching data about cities and urban policies.

The report, released Monday, tries to pin down where the "young and restless" -- AKA the 25-to-34-year-old, college-educated demographic -- have chosen to put down roots. The numbers matter, the authors say, because that group plays an outsize role in growing economies. They quote economist Edward Glasser on the point: "The most successful economic development policy is to attract and retain smart people and then get out of their way."

Miami has apparently done a fine job of that in recent years. The authors found that the number of "young and restless" in the Miami-Dade/Fort Lauderdale/Pompano Beach metro area have grown from about 179,000 in 2000 to more than 223,000 in 2012, a 24.7 percent increase.

That's right on par with New York and Los Angeles and better than techie hubs like San Francisco. Denver, San Diego, and Nashville topped that list with growth about double Miami's, but the Magic City outshines almost everyone else in another category.

The percentage of those young, educated folks moving to Dade's urban core is one of the highest in the nation. Across the country, young people have flooded urban areas, jumping in numbers by 37 percent since 2000.

But that trend is especially notable in Miami, where the authors found a 118 percent increase in that demographic near downtown. That all goes a long way toward explaining why you can't walk through Wynwood these days without tripping over a craft brewery or a small-plates restaurant.

Check out the full report here:

City Observatory Report

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Tim Elfrink is a former investigative reporter and managing editor for Miami New Times. He has won the George Polk Award and was a finalist for the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting.
Contact: Tim Elfrink