Young and restless college grads flock to Houston in record numbers

Oct. 21, 2014Culture Map

Although you might assume that today’s college graduates are flocking to metro centers like New York or Washington D.C., it turns out they are moving to the Houston area in droves.

According to City Observatory‘s report released on Monday, Houston aranks as one of the top metropolitan cities for the highest percent change in the number of college graduates between 2000 to 2012. The Houston metro area — which extends out to Sugar Land and Baytown — experienced an increase of young, college-educated individuals at a rate of 49.8 percent between 2000 and 2012, ranking sixth in the survey.

Among the other top metro areas for growth of this kind are Riverside-San Bernadino-Ontario, Calif. (87 percent), Las Vegas-Paradise, Nev. (72.8 percent), Oklahoma City (56.8 percent), San Antonio-New Braunfels (50.5 percent), Salt Lake City (50.1 percent) and Denver (46.6 percent).

The report also details “The Young and Restless” — 25- to 34-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education — and highlights their increasing tendency to move to the close-in neighborhoods of the nation’s largest metropolitan areas.

The data was compiled using the U.S. Census Bureau‘s recently released American Community Survey, a report that includes an examination of the population change in the nation’s 51 most populous metro areas, focusing on the change in population of close-in neighborhoods within 3 miles of the center of each metro area.

City Observatory’s report indicates that “close-in neighborhoods have higher levels of educational attainment among their young adult population than the overall metropolitan areas of which they are a part.” Between 2000 and 2012, Houston drew more than 8,200 graduates to close-in neighborhoods, marking a 77 percent increase in their population in those areas. In comparison, New York City saw a change of around 30,000 graduates in close-in neighborhoods, equaling a change of only 15 percent between 2000 and 2012.

In reference to the population change among “The Young and Restless” within the state, the report calls the differences between Texas’ three largest metro areas — Houston, San Antonio and Dallas — “interesting.”

With all three experiencing overall population increases of around 30 percent since 2000, Houston and San Antonio have seen their populations of college educated young adults rise by around 50 percent since that time. Dallas lags behind with only about a 20 percent increase in young college grads between 2000 and 2012.