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Old 18 February 2015, 10:31 PM
Simply Madeline's Avatar
Simply Madeline Simply Madeline is offline
Join Date: 15 October 2005
Location: Chicago, IL
Posts: 9,525
Default The Richest Cities for Young People: 1980 vs. Today

Today, there are lots of articles telling young people which cities have the most college gradates, the highest wages, and the most jobs. These are perfectly useful guides to the near future. But it's interesting to look back at the best cities for young workers in 1980 to see how often history intervenes with extrapolated trends.
One theory for why rich cities tend to get richer is "cumulative advantage," which is more commonly known as the rich-get-richer principle. The idea is that cities with thriving industries (consulting in Boston; software in San Jose; commodities in Chicago) attract the smartest workers, whose talents add to the success of those industries, redoubling their ability to attract the smartest workers. Talent attracts talent. Business attracts business. A growing tax base supports better schools, nicer parks, and safer neighborhoods. Economic growth thrives on a feedback loop that, from a certain angle, appears to be infinite and unbreakable. In short: The rich get richer, forever.

And sometimes they do. It is hard to imagine a future for the Bay Area or New York City that looks like Flint, Michigan. The catch, however, is that 35 years ago, the city with the highest median wage for workers under 35 was, in fact, Flint, Michigan.
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Old 19 February 2015, 12:10 AM
Magdalene Magdalene is offline
Join Date: 30 October 2001
Location: Colorado
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FWIW, when I got out of the Army in the early 90's, I got offered a couple of telecom jobs that were in the Detroit and Flint areas. Apparently the area was still going strong at the time....
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Old 19 February 2015, 02:08 PM
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Seaboe Muffinchucker Seaboe Muffinchucker is offline
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Location: Seattle, WA
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Seattle was #8 in 1980; it's #8 today. You'll note that the real median income went down, though. Could that be in part because it's a lot more expensive to live in Seattle today than it was 35 years ago?

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Old 19 February 2015, 03:06 PM
Steve Steve is offline
Join Date: 19 October 2002
Location: Charleston, SC
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I don't think they'd take Seattle prices into account. They'd probably just look at the nominal median income in 1980, the nominal income today, and then compare the 2 by taking into account the overall inflation of the dollar.
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