Where are the New ‘Cool’ Cities?

UNITED STATES

Millennials, searching for urban “authenticity,” are settling in cities that were often shunned in the past—meet them in St. Louis. (Christian Science Monitor)

Dig deeper with our collection of AP Human Geography resources on cities.

Teachers, scroll down for a quick list of key resources, including today’s MapMaker Interactive map.

Bright arch, big city . . . St. Louis and the Mississippi River glisten in the gloaming (look it up). Photograph by Daniel Schwen, courtesy Wikimedia. CCY-BY-SA-4.0

Bright arch, big city . . . St. Louis and the Mississippi River glisten in the gloaming (look it up).
Photograph by Daniel Schwen, courtesy Wikimedia. CC-BY-SA-4.0

Discussion Ideas

 

Map by National Geographic Education

Map by National Geographic Education

  • Read through the CSM article and take a look at today’s MapMaker Interactive map of cities with the greatest growth among educated young adults. What are some reasons these Millennials are moving to “second cities” such as St. Louis?
    • atmosphere. “There was something about it—I can’t even articulate it—but every time I was [in Baltimore] I just felt this energy. I loved the art scene. I loved the culture,” says one Millennial Baltimorean.
    • money. These “second cities” are far more affordable for renters and young homebuyers than urban areas such as New York and San Francisco.
    • aspiration. The CSM article says Millennials are looking for a “community of which [they] could be a part, a place that [they] wouldn’t just step into to be carried along, like San Francisco or New York, but a place where [their] life and actions mattered.”
  • How are the results in today’s MapMaker Interactive map a little misleading? Take a look at the second bookmark in the map for some help.
    • The new data does not account for Millennials who did not attend college.
    • The new data show cities that have the biggest increases of Millennial populations—not necessarily cities with the largest or largest percentage of Millennial populations in general. The cities in the second bookmark have the largest populations of Millennials with college degrees. (Some, such as Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., align with the new increases, but most do not.)
    • The new data does not necessarily account for Millennials—up to 36%, according to the CSM—who live with their parents. The parents of these young people may or may not live in the current “hot cities,” and may or may not have moved there for reasons shared with their Millennial offspring.
    • The new data does not necessarily account for Millennials who are unemployed or underemployed. Many of the current “hot cities” are college towns or internship sites where recent graduates may stay put for social and financial reasons.

 

TEACHERS TOOLKIT

Christian Science Monitor: The new ‘cool’ cities for Millennials

Nat Geo: AP Human Geography: Cities

MapMaker Interactive: Where Have All the Millennials Gone? map

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