Class of 2023 graduates gravitated to gateway markets

March 26, 2024
  • Jacob Rowden
  • Elena Lanning
  • Despite substantial increases in cost of living in major cities since the outset of the pandemic, recent graduates are flocking to gateway markets to establish their careers: 1/3 of the Class of 2023 who took employment in office-using industries settled in gateway markets, with over 10% residing in New York.
  • Although lower-cost Sun Belt markets have seen outpaced growth for much of the last decade—driven by strong domestic migration and corporate migration chasing lower costs and higher quality of life—gateway markets still possess key advantages as talent hubs: university population and especially elite universities are highly concentrated in gateway markets, and by virtue of their scale, gateway markets have deep wells of experience across most major industries, offering education and mentorship for young employees
  • Regionally, the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic were the only regions where major cities captured more graduates from the Class of 2023 than a typical graduating class in the past decade, while the West Coast saw the most significant decline against recent averages. While the Midwest saw a consistent share of graduates locating to major markets, the three largest talent pools of Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit collectively saw their share of graduates decline to 6.6% from an average of 6.9% in the past decade, but smaller markets like Columbus, OH, Madison, WI and Ann Arbor, MI saw their share of graduates rise to 2.2% from 1.9%, indicating some of the success well-educated smaller tertiary cities have enjoyed in the wake of the pandemic and more flexible work settings.