Something strange happened in U.S. cities circa 2000: people started to move downtown.
From 2000 to 2010, more college-educated professionals aged 25 to 34 moved downtown than to the suburbs in 39 of the 50 largest U.S. metros.
For 35-to-44-year-olds, the same held true in 28 of the 50 largest metros. This revival was true in the places you might expect, like New York City or San Francisco, and in places you might not, like Cleveland.
“This is a huge reversal from decades of suburbanization of college graduates,” says urban economics scholar Victor Couture of UC-Berkeley.
New living habits of Millennials and Baby Boomers, delays in starting a family, a tougher home-buying market, a hatred of long commutes—those social factors have all altered cities in recent years.
But Couture and Jessie Handbury pin the return of downtown on a new fondness for service amenities: music venues, theaters, bars, gyms, and the like.