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Louisville is Attracting Young Residents at Among the Highest Rates in the U.S.

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In the years when the economy started recovering from the Great Recession, Louisville had the third-greatest influx of people ages 30 to 34 among large metro areas in the U.S., according to a recently released study by the Census Bureau.

To determine this, researchers examined "inmovers" into metro areas across the country. An inmover is considered to be someone whose previous residence was in a different metro, micro, or nonmetropolitan area than their current residence, according to the report.

Researchers then looked at how many of the total amount of inmovers were younger than 34. In Louisville 11.4 percent of inmovers were aged 30-34, per the report.

That's lower than only San Francisco (12.7) and San Jose (13.3).

Young adult inmovers accounted for nearly half of all inmovers in the country during the 2010-2012 period. It's the same rate during the recession years of 2007-2009, but fewer people were moving post-recession—about 500,000 fewer.

Inmovers in the 30-34 age range are more likely to seek areas with affordable housing and jobs—elements favorable for starting a family, researchers said. People in the 25-29 age group are looking to establish a career, and those in the 18-24 age group are likely moving to attend college or university, according to the report.

Here is a list of where people aged 18-24 were moving from 2010-2012.

Here is a list of where people aged 25-29 moved during the same time.

Michael Holtz, 31, moved to Louisville about 18 months ago after living in Nashville, Chicago and Washington, D.C.

He works as an attorney in downtown Louisville and said the move stemmed partly for his job and also to be closer to family.

He said Louisville has what he is looking for—character, concerts, cuisine. But in order to maintain the sense of community and culture that makes the city a destination for young, educated residents, the city needs more jobs that will enable more young people to live and thrive, Holtz said.

"I know that Louisville has more jobs coming, but it needs even more white collar jobs," he said.

Earlier this year, the annual State of Downtown presentation by the Louisville Downtown Partnership reported the number of young people living in the downtown area is up about 2 percent since 2000.

Matthew Ruther, director of the Kentucky State Data Center, said young residents, specifically those between the age of 25-34, are important to cities because that’s when they commonly start families.

“Which of course implys future population stability,” Ruther said in February.

But in December, the U.S. Census Bureau reportedthe population of young adults living in Louisville is at a 30-year low.

At the time of that report residents aged 18-34 years old made up just 22 percent of the current population. In 1980, the same group accounted for nearly 30 percent of the Louisville population, according to the analysis.

The same report also shows that, in December, the poverty rate among 18-34 year old residents hit a 30-year high mark at nearly 19 percent.

Josh Pinkston, assistant professor of economics at the University of Louisville, at the time reassured residents that the seemingly high poverty rate "is not that alarming."

The reason, he said, is that the 18-34 age group is not "apples to apples" comparison. That means that people on the younger end of the spectrum are more likely to be working their way through school or just getting started in a job. Older residents are more likely to be out of college and employed.

Laura Youngquist, 28, moved to Louisville about 18 months ago from Minnesota. Said she did so because she got a job.

"I had an offer in Texas, but when I came down here it reminded me a lot of home because it has a little tiny downtown, but then it's got all the little neighborhoods," she said. "I like it down here."

Joe Cortright, director of City Observatory, said attracting people in the 20s can have "major ramifications for future city population and economic growth."

He said the older people get, the less likely they are to migrate elsewhere.

"A 35 year-old is roughly half as likely to move as a 25 year-old, and that probability declines steadily with age,” he said.

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Jacob Ryan joined LPM in 2014. Ryan is originally from Eddyville, Kentucky. Email Jacob at jryan@lpm.org.