The “Creative Class” is older and more valuable than you think

Millennials-2“Unfortunately, many within the economic development community have come to have a disproportionate amount of focus on and regard for one type of knowledge worker, the young hip urban professional,” writes N. David Milder in this article which asks how suburbs and rural locations can compete for those desirable knowledge workers.

His well-documented essay demonstrates that people aged 55-64 have a much higher rate of entrepreneurship, while 24 to 34-year-olds have the lowest rate. In the arts, math and science, older Americans demonstrate higher levels of creativity and innovation.

Both groups, whether they’re fresh out of college or empty nesters, want to live and play in dense urban environments but, “In metro areas that are rich in knowledge workers, many of them probably live and/or work in suburban communities and these communities should have revitalization strategies that clearly recognize and leverage this asset,” Milder said.

Michigan communities are asked to focus on placemaking as they compete for funds in Michigan’s Economic Vitality Incentive Program. The places we create, though, can succeed by attracting a wider age range than just young creatives.