Ohio Cities: Stabilize the Population Outflux by Attracting & Retaining the Millennial Generation

July 23rd, 2014

By Raquel Jones, Intern, and Marianne Eppig, Manager of Research & Communications

Between the years 1970 and 2013, the city of Cleveland lost almost half of its population. In fact, most cities in the region have also witnessed a decline in population. However, this recent trend seems to have less to do with the location and more to do with the layout of these cities. The most evident reason for this rapid decline may point to the fact that young, educated Millennials favor core cities, as opposed to sprawling communities.

According to research conducted by the Pew Institute and Urban Land Institute, Millennials are driving less than previous generations. However, the Millennials are not alone in this recent trend, as the Baby Boomers are also eager to take advantage of urban amenities and walkable communities. A key component to attracting Millennials to cities is the availability and quality of transportation options. According to a recent survey, “55% of Millennials have a preference to live close to transit” (Yung). With more than half of those polled in favor of such an option, it is obvious that the demand for a multimodal city is real.

One of the most compelling arguments supporting this growing rejection of a car-dependent society points heavily at the financial strain induced by the costly upkeep of a car. With gas prices rising and car loans becoming harder to obtain, and as Millennials find themselves buried in a heap of college debt, owning a car no longer seems to be practical. For this reason, many are shifting to urban areas, where there are multiple transportation options and where almost everything that could be wanted or needed is only a short distance away.

Population of Ohio's Cities Millennial Population in Ohio Cities Millennial Percentage of Population in Ohio Cities

In Ohio, we need to do more to take advantage of these trends and to continue attracting and retaining populations that are interested in urban living in order to strengthen the economies of these cities and their surrounding regions. Some of Ohio’s cities are seeing more positive trends–attracting a greater percentage of Millennials–but in the context of ongoing population shrinkage in all of our major cities except Columbus, it is clear that Ohio’s work is not done. The state’s ability to leverage market demand for inner city living and further incentivize—and remove legislative barriers to—infill development within its cities will help determine Ohio’s future prosperity.

For more information about these national demographic trends, take a look at these articles:

New Interactive Tools

March 31st, 2011

Check out these new interactive tools.  Transportation for America has just released a map which shows which bridges in your area are structurally deficient.  See what it shows about the bridges your neighborhood (if you’re brave enough to know).

Forbes has produced an interactive feature which graphically represents inward and outward migration across the country, broken down to the county level.  It shows from where and to where people (with exact numbers) are moving.  Check it out!

Building Talent Through Internships

March 18th, 2011

Last week, an editorial on the local news radio station caught the ear of several Greater Ohio staffers.  The commentator, Gail Martineau, highlighted several programs which are aimed at retaining college graduates in Ohio.  In particular, Martineau attributed internships programs as being one of the most important tools in the state’s arsenal.

Research by Collegia, a higher education economic development consulting firm, confirms Martineau’s hunch: out-of-region students who interned in Philadelphia were twice as likely to stay in the city after graduation and undoubtedly, the number is higher for in-region students.  Although there are differences between Ohio’s shrinking cities and Philadelphia, similar retention rates likely occur.

Many of the internships listed on clearinghouses like EasyColumbus, NEOIntern in Cleveland, and SOCHE in southwest Ohio are located in cities.  This isn’t surprising actually because the state’s cities turn Ohio’s economic motor; the seven largest metros concentrate talent and innovation and contribute to 80% of the state’s GDP.

Cities like Akron and Springfield have recognized that to increase the number of local jobs and the city’s prosperity, education and workforce development will carry the metro into the next economy.  Internships will be one critical strategy as Akron and other Ohio cities continue to leverage their assets and prosperity drivers.  The state can play an important role in this process by supporting internships programs, as it does now with the Third Frontier Internship Program and the proposed funding for the Ohio Co-op and Internship Program.

Ohio has one of the largest collections of colleges and universities in the country— using internships to capitalize on the presence of so many young, eager, educated people not only brings fresh talent to businesses and gives students real-life work experience, but internships can also help retain the creative, highly-trained workers needed for the state’s long term competitive success.

The State of the State

March 15th, 2011

By Gene Krebs.

Like many Buckeyes, I am waiting for the budget to be released later today.  In the meantime, many have been poring over the recent State of the State speech by Governor Kasich and looking for clues.  I was pleased to see that the speech touched on many smart growth principles.

Some of the themes from the speech aligned with what we have been hammering on for seven long years.  The main one is that our metropolitan regions are central to restoring Ohio.  Governor Kasich emphasized this by drawing attention to the dramatic population loss of many of Ohio’s major cities.  “Cleveland and Youngstown have lost 50 percent of their population since 1950. Fifty percent of the population of Cleveland and Youngstown gone.  And I will take your breath away by telling you that the city where the north meets the south, Cincinnati, has lost 40 percent of its population since 1950.”  This acknowledgment of our shrinkage is an important first step to being able to diagnose and treat the problems we are facing.  This focus on cities also affirms Greater Ohio’s agenda.  I am glad to hear that cities and metros are getting the attention they deserve.

The State of the State speech also reflected a shift in attitude towards how we grow.  What does it all mean?  This could be an indicator of massive changes in how we govern, how we are organized, and how we spend.  These changes are likely coming as the state attempts to deal with our unprecedented budget shortfall.

It was also positive to hear that Governor Kasich supports governance reform and shared services.  As he said in his speech, “We are going to reform government, okay? It’s going to happen. And I’m — I’m asking you all to keep an open mind about the possibilities of reform because you can’t keep doing the same thing in this state and avoiding the decisions that need to be made that have been put off for political reasons, frankly.”   Change certainly is needed for many reasons.  Ohio’s antiquated form of government was designed for the horse and buggy economy, not the global economy.  We need to reform in order to compete.

However, we hope that the change represents not just cuts in our spending, but also the right types of investments in our cities and metros as well.  Ohio needs to face the fact that cutting taxes and spending alone will not be the silver bullet.  And we have to acknowledge that our population loss is not due solely to high taxes.  We need to invest in order to build the kinds of quality places that attract businesses and skilled workers.  For further proof of this, see this letter from a Michigan CEO who wants to relocate out of Michigan not due to taxes or regulations, but because the sprawl endemic to his area creates undesirable places where talented, educated workers prefer not to live.

All in all, there were many positive signs, but there is a lot of work ahead of us, and the devil is in the details.  We look forward to seeing the budget later today in order to figure out the Governor’s proposed path of action.  Stay tuned for more of Greater Ohio’s analysis.

Shaping the State

October 12th, 2010

Overview of Key Demographic Trends Facing Ohio and Implications for Policy-making and Ohio’s Future Competitiveness

Greater Ohio Policy Center conducted this comparative analysis of demographic trends in Ohio, its metros and the nation from 2000 to 2008.  The analysis builds on the national trends articulated in the Brookings Institution’s State of Metropolitan America report : State of Metropolitan America: On the Front Lines of Demographic Transformation.

These trends have critical implications for the future of our state and it is our contention that they should guide future policy-making aimed at positioning Ohio to compete successfully in the next economy, which will be low-carbon, export-oriented, metropolitan-lead, and innovation-driven and is discussed in more detail in our recent report Restoring Prosperity: Transforming Ohio Communities for the Next Economy.

To see detailed data analysis on a specific demographic trend either click on the relevant anaylsis listed below or use the hyperlinks in the table above.

Report Calls for Increased Exporting in Ohio

July 27th, 2010

Today, the Brookings Institution released a report focusing on the importance of exports to both Ohio and the nation’s largest metropolitan areas. The report, Export Nation: How U.S. Metros Lead National Export Growth and Boost Competitiveness, is the first comprehensive analysis of U.S. exports of goods and services produced in America’s 100 largest metropolitan areas. Seven of Ohio’s metros are included in the report: Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Toledo and Youngstown.

Export Nation’s findings are consistent with Greater Ohio Policy Center/Brookings’ Restoring Prosperity report, which called upon Ohio’s regions to build upon their strength in manufacturing and exporting goods, while also strategically adapting to new demands in the next economy.

Both reports call for policies that promote increasing educational attainment, workforce training based on industry demand, and greater investment in innovation. Greater Ohio’s Restoring Prosperity report emphasized the need for Ohio’s state policy efforts to promote exports and encourage growth in Ohio’s cities and metropolitan areas.

According to Export Nation service exports make up a lower percent of total exports in Ohio metros than the nation’s other large metros, which likely correlates to below average, college attainment.  With regards to goods exports, all of Ohio’s metros surpass the national average.  However, the recent Brookings report also found that Ohio’s major metros are comparatively weak in innovation as shown by patent rates compared with their national peers, despite the high levels of manufacturing employment and generally high export intensity.  Nationally, metros that are manufacturing oriented or export intensive typically tend to have higher patent rates.

Greater Ohio believes reliable export data can inform state and local leaders about the untapped export potential of Ohio’s metropolitan areas, and assist them as they reorient the state and its metros to the global trade environment to remain competitive in the 21st century global economy.

For additional Ohio-specific export data click here or see the full report at http://www.brookings.edu/reports/2010/0726_exports_istrate_rothwell_katz.aspx

The Evergreen Cooperative in Cleveland

July 22nd, 2010

By Zach Crafton.

Last week I had the opportunity to take part in GLUE’s very informative and interactive conference. The three day event, which pulled together nearly 100 individuals from the Great Lakes region, took place in the heart of downtown Cleveland. Unlike many typical conferences, participants were not confined to the boundaries of the hotel (although the arcade is quite lovely) or even limited to the downtown area. Instead, we were encouraged to get out and experience Cleveland and all it has to offer, as well as learn a few lessons from projects that are working and some that are not.

That being said, last Friday afternoon, I eagerly took advantage of the opportunity to visit and learn more about one of Cleveland’s most innovative programs. A team of GLUEsters and me hopped on a bus and headed for the city’s east side to tour a commercial-scale laundry facility created by the Evergreen Cooperative. Now, I recognize that a laundry facility might not elicit intense excitement in most, but this laundry company is different in a number of ways.

Photo from Cleveland Plain Dealer

First, it focuses on environmental sustainability and exceeds all industry “green” standards. Second, it leverages its location to nearby anchor institutions (i.e. University Hospitals, Cleveland Clinic, Case Western University, etc.) by focusing on their current/future demands for laundry services to create jobs in the community that would otherwise be lost to businesses outside of the neighborhood. Lastly, it is a worker-owned operation, focused on creating local jobs, community wealth (rather than simply providing a “living wage”) and equity in a neighborhood that has faced disinvestment and many other barriers.

The tour of the Evergreen Laundry Cooperative was hot (literally), but thoroughly interesting. I especially liked watching the laundry move from station to station on various mechanizes, which to me resembled Mouse Trap, a wacky board game I enjoyed as a child. Following the tour we were given a short presentation about the Evergreen Cooperative and its other worker-owned companies, including Ohio Solar Cooperative and the GreenCity Growers Cooperative. For more information on this nationally recognized program visit http://www.evergreencoop.com/.

Bridges to the Future

May 26th, 2010

Check out this great ad from the University of Akron.  It connects the importance of anchor institutions, such as the University of Akron, to the larger metropolitan region, recognizing that metropolitan regions are the key functional units in today’s global economies (as described in our Restoring Prosperity to Ohio report).

Click here to zoom in on the ad: Bridges to the Future

CSU Hosts "A Crack in the Pavement" Film Showing

February 4th, 2010

A Crack in the Pavement, Fix it First?
Co-sponsored by the Northeast Ohio First Suburbs Consortium

Thursday, February 11, 2010
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Cleveland State University
Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs
Glickman-Miller Hall, Atrium
1717 Euclid Ave.
Cleveland, OH 44115

Ohio’s First Suburbs play a leading role in “The New Metropolis,” a groundbreaking two-part documentary on the rise, fall and revitalization of America’s first suburbs, produced by award-winning filmmaker Andrea Torrice.  Plan to join us for the Cleveland premier of Episode One, “A Crack in the Pavement, Rebuilding America’s First Suburbs.” Narrated by actor Peter Coyote, this episode follows the story of two Cincinnati area public officials and their efforts to keep their towns stable and healthy despite difficult times to repair and improve infrastructure and lure businesses.

The film will be introduced by Andrea Torrice and will be followed by a panel discussion.

Moderator
Tom Bier, Executive in Residence, Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, Cleveland State University
Panelists
Bill Cervenik, Mayor, City of Euclid
Michael K. Lyons, Mayor, The Village of Richfield
Joanna Pinkerton, Transportation System Development Office, Ohio Department of Transportation
Mandy Bishop, Deputy Director, Transportation System Development Division, Ohio Department of Transportation
Joyce Braverman, Director, Planning Department, City of Shaker Heights
William A. Sanderson, Vice President of Joint Ventures, Forest City Land Group

Free and open to the public.
Registration requested at Forum or call (216) 523-7330

The Core Vitality Imperative

January 25th, 2010

The Core Vitality Imperative Post by The Urbanophile

You can’t be a suburb of nowhere.” – Bill Hudnut

What does a healthy urban core mean to a region? Maybe the difference between success and failure. On the jump, a look at urban core and regional job growth for selected cities*, ranked by percentage job growth in the core county from 2001 to 2009.

Notice a pattern? Clearly, for these cities at least, core county performance is an excellent proxy for overall regional performance. I’m not making a statistical claim here, but the data for these cities is suggestive. I think it also foots with our common sense view. How many thriving metro areas have a core city/county that is going down the tubes? I can’t name one.

The Dynamics of Growth and Decline

It might be easy to dismiss cities like Cleveland and Detroit by simply calling them dysfunctional. But that misses the point. Of course they’re dysfunctional. All struggling cities and organizations are dysfunctional, or they probably wouldn’t be in that state. What’s more, rather than just dysfunction causing failure, which is sometimes true, it’s also true that failure causes dysfunction. As a city (or company or other organization) starts into decline, it fails to attract customers, top talent leaves, and operational and financial issues creep up. In this regard the civic dysfunction noted in places like California is as much as product of decline as its cause.

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