A Top Ten That Matters

Seems like every week there is another top ten list that folks claim Michigan should be on. Many are tax rankings. Some measure how “business friendly” states or regions are. Only problem with these lists is being on the top ten almost never means that you have a prosperous economy.

When it comes to inputs that lead to prosperity at Michigan Future we have argued the ranking that matter most is the proportion of adults with a four-year degree or more. Nine of the top ten on the list are in the top twelve in per capita income. It doesn’t get better than that!

But along comes this week from the folks at Nielsen the top ten counties in America in terms of the proportion of households between 25-34 with incomes above $100,000. A demographic they call young and moneyed. (See the list here.) Turns out this is a top ten you want to be on.

The top ten counties are all in big metros – where young professionals at all income levels are concentrating. The seven big metros with top ten counties: Washington DC, New York, San Fransisco, Denver, Minneapolis, Atlanta, and surprisingly Columbus. The first five are among the most prosperous areas on the planet. And Atlanta and Columbus aren’t bad.

More evidence that its talent concentrations – not the stuff that economic policy normally focuses on – that is driving prosperity. We need to start asking policy makers and business leaders what they are doing to Michigan to get on this top ten list.

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