By Richey Piiparinen
“I come from that society and there is a common thread, specifically family values – the idea that you do anything for your family, and the unconditional love for one’s children.”—Ednita Nazario
“I never did quite fit the glamour mode. It is life with my husband and family that is my high now.”—Patti Duke
Knowing where a city’s residents are coming and going is immensely important, and this is particularly true with an area’s young- and middle-age adults—as these generations are the future. A new study I did charts area migration patterns. There are a lot of findings (go ahead and read it, it’s easy to consume and short), including:
–young adults are re-populating many inner-ring neighborhoods, in effect going against the grain of outmigration;
–middle-age adults—or the family-rearing group—are continuing the long-standing pattern of outmigration into the suburban fringe and neighboring counties;
–young African Americans are exiting the East Side at an alarming rate, going to the inner-ring suburbs, the Near West Side, but also leaving the region altogether, with the South and the Southwest likely destinations; and
–emerging national demographic groups such as young Hispanics and Asian Americans are slowly budding locally as well.
In all, the study asks how can we increase the nascent “green flows” of human capital that are arriving in an otherwise shrinking region. This is important. People develop cities. So for those folks arriving, let’s try to find out why as opposed to constantly bemoaning all that has left.
Also, while young blood is needed, so is the re-emergence of an inner-city middle class, one not only based on “the young and the restless” as it were, but one based on families. After all, there is probably nothing more “cool” than re-creating Cleveland as a place for kids. Now that is an attraction strategy worth investing in.
Richey Piiparinen is a Clevelander, a writer, and a city strategist. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Atlantic Cities, New Geography, Huffington Post, and Next American City. Richey is co-editor of the book Rust Belt Chic: A Cleveland Anthology. His musings and work can be found at richeypiiparinen.wordpress.com and rustbeltchic.com.