Columbus has earned yet another bit of national recognition, this time from NerdWallet, a consumer finance website, which ranked the city on its list of the top 10 U.S. cities for recent college graduates.
NerdWallet looked at data such as: what percentage of a city’s population is between ages 18-24; social life (measured by number of bars per 1,000 residents); how easily residents can get around without a car; median rent; and unemployment rate.
Columbus ranked in the No. 7 spot, behind Boston, Seattle, Denver, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. We outranked Austin, Texas; Chicago; and San Francisco. Not too shabby.
NerdWallet’s take: “Columbus is an up-and-coming Midwestern college town-turned-entrepreneurial center. With the fourth most 18 to 24 year olds, the fourth lowest unemployment rate and a very low cost of living (they have the cheapest movie tickets of any city on our list!), this city is extremely friendly to recent grads with minimal savings. Although the city is not particularly walkable, the low cost of living means that having and parking a car is much more affordable than it is in other large cities.”
No doubt civic and economic development leaders take that as a feather in the region’s cap. The assessment also validates a seven-year-old strategy to focus on stemming Central Ohio’s brain drain and making the area a place where young professionals want to stay and put down roots—or even relocate
For this month’s cover story, reporter Kitty McConnell talked with local leaders and YPs to find out how we’re doing on that goal. The consensus: We’ve made progress, but there’s still room for improvement.
Since the YP push began in earnest in 2006, the city has changed a lot: There are more bike paths, parks and restaurants, which have contributed to the lifestyle young professionals crave. Networking organizations dedicated to the demographic give YPs a way to meet and interact off the clock. And many employers are forming their own in-house YP groups to connect those employees to the company and the community.
In addition to the print story, you’ll find more profiles of local young professionals on our new website, www.columbusceo.com. More on that on page 43.
Julanne Hohbach, editor