Isn’t youth all about taking risks?
Not if you’re the Wall Street Journal.
It recently consulted a group of demographic and relocation experts and compiled its list of magnet cities for youth , and most of the obvious candidates are there: New York, Washington, D.C., Austin and the rainy redoubts of Seattle and Portland.
‘Post-Recession Boomtowns,’ is how the Journal described them.
But it had a glaring oversight: ‘stretch’ cities. Most of the list are the obvious and safe, with large populations and solid economies.
That probably helped exclude a lot of cities that might have qualified, like, for example, ANY city in the South, and just a couple in the Southwest.
The article notes that Naples, Florida had been listed as a popular relocation destination for youth earlier this decade, but that its pummeling in the economic crisis helped keep it off the list.
Same probably goes for any city in Florida, as well as most large cities in California.
However, isn’t the very pummeling of a city a reason for youths in particular to take a look, particularly as a ‘post-recession boomtown’? The Journal’s list seems to focus on cities that are doing well now, not that might do well in the future.
For example, Portland probably wouldn’t have made this list a decade ago — it was dirty, gritty and didn’t offer much economic opportunity.
But you might say that very reason it’s on the list now is that it attracted youth. That youth helped revitalize the downtown and made it a much more inviting place to live. Inevitably, that helped attracted businesses that wanted to tap into what’s now an enviable lifestyle for people of all ages.
So when you’re looking to move, also take a look at the cities that are in the dumps. You’ll find cheaper housing and a cheaper overall standard of living, and perhaps less competition for entry level jobs as your peers flock to the more popular cities .
And if you’re intent on being an entrepreneur, you’ll probably find local government that would love to give you some financial assistance.
Make your decision for moving  based not entirely on how things look now, but how they might look in the future.
Here’s the top 10 (er, 11 – there were some ties that apparently couldn’t be decided by a coin flip).
1. Washington, D.C.: Thank God for the stimulus — what happens when that ends?
1. Seattle (tie): I hear it rains there.
3. New York City: Financial industry not as hard-hit as expected, but let’s wait to see what greater government regulation (or more accurately, enforcement) does to it.
4. Portland, Ore.: See Seattle
5. Austin, Texas: I imagine even Austin is getting tired of making everyone’s top 10 list (including our own Best Places for a Fresh Start ).
6. San Jose, Calif.
7. Denver: If you can’t work, you can at least ski (if you can afford to ski).
8. Raleigh-Durham, N.C.: Another fave on the top cities lists.
9: Dallas: Buoyed by oil, it will continue to do well.
10: Chicago: You don’t see this on many lists, and I don’t know why — great econ and Olympics tie should help.
10: Boston: Also not a city you see much on these lists.