The Story Behind the Population Rise in Downtown Cleveland
Downtown Cleveland’s population is on the upswing. Since 2000, Downtown Cleveland’s residential population has increased by 79 percent. Between 2000 and 2014, the population of Millennials grew by 77 percent and the population of Baby Boomers grew by 97 percent. This population growth follows the national trend of residents in both generations looking for walkable, amenity rich neighborhoods with access to public transit and a deep pool of jobs. This growing population is quickly becoming a valuable resource in Downtown Cleveland, attracting businesses and investment into the city core.
According to a survey completed by Downtown Cleveland Alliance, the not-for-profit organization dedicated to building a dynamic Downtown Cleveland, business owners rate “finding employees with the correct qualifications” as a top business challenge. It follows that the need to recruit young talent and retain current employees continues to be one of the leading reasons employers relocate or expand their office presence into Downtown Cleveland.
Businesses that locate in Downtown Cleveland give themselves a leg up over peer businesses in recruiting top talent. According to Downtown Cleveland Alliance research, in the time that the Downtown Cleveland population has grown 79 percent, the percent of college graduates and advanced degree population has simultaneously risen 161 percent, illustrating that population boom has had a direct and positive effect on the talent pool in the neighborhood.
A study by Cleveland State University’s Levin College for Urban Affairs titled “The Fifth Migration” shows Cleveland has the eighth fastest growing population of College Educated 25 to 34 year olds in the nation, tying with Miami and Seattle and outpacing Columbus, Ohio. This growing population is attracted to Downtown Cleveland’s assets and amenities. Of Downtown Cleveland’s population of 25 to 34 year olds, 63.7 percent have four year degrees, nearly double the percentage of people in the surrounding neighborhoods according to The Fifth Migration study.
In a report published in conjunction with Cushman & Wakefield and the George Washington University School of Business, Smart Growth America, a national organization dedicated to bringing smart growth practices to more communities nationwide, surveyed 500 business executives and concluded that talent recruitment and retention is a key consideration for businesses deciding to locate in a downtown. In the last five years, over 50 companies have relocated, consolidated, expanded or started in Downtown Cleveland, taking advantage of the urban core that attracts talent and the vibrant neighborhoods that help retain employees.
With more than 2,000 additional apartments planned for Downtown Cleveland over the next two years, the talent pool will continue to grow, providing both current and future Downtown Cleveland businesses with the educated workforce needed to run efficient, productive organizations.