The Rise of the Secondary Cities

When people graduate from college, many migrate to large cities for the standard reasons like jobs and opportunity.  We have seen the rise of the urbanization of the globe as more people want to live in cities so that they have access to everything where you see and meet other people.  Perhaps it is a reaction to the phone being an extension of ourselves with social media coming at us all day, being able to be connected to the real world feels healthy and we need it more now than ever.

Over the past decade, as more people have come to live in major metropolitan cities, the price of living has gone up and that has changed the landscape.  Restaurants have become more expensive, housing has become most expensive even in neighborhoods once deemed cheap.  The commercial real estate has become expensive making it hard to open new stores with new ideas.  The infrastructure of many top cities has been compromised because the cost is so expensive and Government is not exactly smart about thinking long term when it comes to new transportation or energy.  Rebuilding a city that hums is harder than rebuilding a city where there is plenty of room to grow.

As Millennials grow and have families, they are still looking to that urban lifestyle and as many are being priced out of the major cities, they are gravitating towards secondary cities.  Their preference is to stay in cities and that is a good thing for the secondary cities because the long tail of that is economic growth across more states as the city is and will always be the hub and everything else shoots out of that.

Many of these cities, such as Detroit, Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Nashville, Portland and others are thinking about transportation, old areas are being rebuilt, new restaurants are coming in, people are being creative and connecting in smaller yet vibrant communities and cities.

Perhaps we will see more college graduates move to those secondary cities right out of school because the opportunities in those towns will be there and more appealing to them from the get-go.  We will see large growth in these secondary cities over the next decade and with that will come interesting opportunities for investment.

Comments (Archived):

  1. awaldstein

    Yup.Every time I go to Portland, I can’t get over that the train from the airport to downtown is on the payment honor system.As well, noticing that areas out of NY, like every area within two hours by train is become a mecca–not a city, but with the ecosystems and benefits of one and various communities here are simply moving there.

    1. Gotham Gal

      It’s a really good thing!

  2. Pranay Srinivasan

    College Towns with Great Engg schools will soon turn into these “satellite cities” where you can rent a 1 bed for $600 and earn $70k starter salaries without having to compromise on which theatre show to watch.Supporting entertainment and events moving to these cities would be the next step – maybe employer cos could sponsor those shows – and create the “quality of life” people are used to in big cities

    1. Gotham Gal

      For sure.

  3. Jeremy Robinson

    You’re absolutely right! Living in NYC, I cannot even begin to articulate how disappointed me and many friends are with our current Mayor. The man reportedly only trusts two or three Advisors. He’s anti-innovation. We need more female leaders who can be more collaborative and innovative. In NYC we need a Mayor leading us to the future. Perhaps this Mayor will be a woman.

    1. Gotham Gal

      A female NYC mayor would be amazing.

  4. YellowBird Co

    I have seen this first hand. As an individual stepping into entrepreneurship with my own company, I have thought about moving to a larger city in the past. Networking, reaching out to others within my industry and talking to different people around the United States, the statement they say to me has been consistent. “Oh, Detroit? I hear a lot of creative things are happening over there.” And they are. The city has changed it’s direction from an isolated location to a sought after location for young, creative entrepreneurs looking to spread their ideas out into the world. Great post!

  5. Pointsandfigures

    The ones I know are fleeing high taxes. There is more economic opportunity for them with a higher quality of life in cities south of the Mason-Dixon line. At the same time I just saw some data that showed wealthy millennials were moving to Chicago (a very high tax city). Muddled for sure