“Dear young people who are deep in the struggle of life as adults, you should consider shipping off to Missouri.”

Photo by Jessica Machetta.

Photo by Jessica Machetta.

That’s how a recent article by Bloomberg begins. St. Louis comes in No. 1 in their study that takes a variety of statistics and determines where the most affordable cities in America are for young professionals, all the while letting them enjoy life and get ahead in their careers.

St. Louis is in sync with the trend, recently launching Young Friends of Downtown STL, a place where twenty- and thirty-somethings can mingle, connect, create, network, and have fun.

A launch party at the Old Post Office Plaza on 8th and Locust brought more than a hundred young professionals out into the balmy summer evening to enjoy drinks, a live band, register for raffle prizes, and more importantly, register to join Young Friends and contribute to the revitalization of Downtown. Offerings of beet hummus with summer squash, Mandarin scallion pancakes with coconut red curry, and Thai rice noodles. Eighties covers on the stage and cold Budweisers, white wine and loyalty cards from local eateries.

However, one of the reasons St. Louis offers affordable rents is not because of balmy evenings in quaint settings. It’s because of the crime rate. Young lawyers, restauranteurs and medical interns in attendance were not concerned, saying they pay attention to being cautious when out and about, are always aware of their surroundings, and simply can’t make a good living with a good quality of life on the east and west coasts.

“I’m 25. It’s an appropriate time for me to be in St. Louis right now and enjoy all that it has to offer,” said a recent SLU law school graduate.

Another recent Chicago transplant said crime is everywhere, and referred to St. Louis as “tidy,” and a city that’s easy to get around in.

Bloomberg’s study used analysis from Zillow, a rental and home buying website — and app, which is plausibly more relevant in this case — and compared 23 metro areas.

“In St. Louis and Kansas City, the vast majority of homes required millennials to pay no more than 30 percent of their household income on rent. Zillow came to that conclusion by consulting its database of rental listings in the top 50 largest cities in the country, and the U.S. Census’s data on the median income for households headed by millennials,” the article finds.

“In St. Louis, 85 percent of rental listings on Zillow were affordable given the median income for millennial-headed households (about $52,300).

Birmingham, which came in at the No. 2 spot, “it was just as easy to find homes that wouldn’t be absurdly expensive.”

It compares such cities to Miami, “the toughest place for millennials to rent in.”

Miami provides a mere 8 percent of all rental homes that are affordable for young people. New York offers similarly dismal options for millennials.

St. Louis keeps good company with other industrial cities working to reinvent and reinvest: Richmond, Detroit, Indy.

It’s worth mention that the 20 to 40 crowd is one of only two population groups growing in St. Louis, according to the latest census numbers. (The other is the over 65 group, likely younger, professional retirees.) All other demographics are leaving for St. Louis County, St. Charles, Jefferson County, and other neighboring areas farther from the hustle and bustle. Young Friends invites anyone who is interested to join them at upcoming events, including a bowling party Aug. 19 at the Flamingo Bowl, a Downtown Idea Forum Aug. 26, and a Volunteer Opportunity, date TBA.
For more, call 314.436.6500 or email youngfriends@downtownstl.org. Young professionals wanting to get involved or just have some fun can also get the latest on KMOX, and if they don’t listen to AM radio, there’s always our digital content.
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