Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Portland continues to draw the young and educated

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Young people continue to migrate to Portland, and they are bringing their college degrees with them.

A new study discovered that Portland's population of college-educated people between the ages 25 to 34 is growing at five times the national rate, putting the city in an enviable position for future job growth.

The researchers, Joe Cortright, a Portland economist, and Carol Coletta, an urban consultant in Memphis, Tenn., also found that Portland's proportion of such residents is much higher in the city's central areas than in other cities with similar geography.

The percentage of the young and educated is twice as high in central city as it is outside, making Portland more similar to New York and Chicago than to Phoenix or Denver, where growth is in the suburbs.

The study combines data from the 1990 Census and 2000 Census, the 2002 American Community survey and driver's license surrender lists.

Their findings reinforce the data about the influx of young educated people that emerged from the 2000 Census.

Despite Portland's economic difficulties over the past few years, "we're pretty confident that these trends are continuing," Cortright said.

The study was paid for by the Westside Economic Alliance, a trade group, and the Portland Development Commission, a public economic development agency. Additional financing came from Nike and the cities of Hillsboro, Beaverton and Tualatin.

Cortright said his study's findings should comfort those who lament Oregon's scarcity of Fortune 500 companies.

"Over the next five to 10 years, the creativity and entrepreneurship of people in this age group will create companies that we can no more imagine than the timber barons could imagine a shoe company being in the Fortune 500," he said.

Nike is the only Oregon company on the magazine's list of largest public companies.
I've always thought having less megacorps was a good thing.