The Demographics of Living Downtown, an Infographic

Source: Who Lives Downtown, a 2005 report by Eugenie L. Birch

Mitch Kline
On Monday, March 2, 2015 - 07:00
Downtown Infographic

To make our picks for the 10 Best Downtowns in 2015, our editors analyzed dozens of data points ranging from growth rates and home values to educational attainment and amenities. Through this we began to get a better understanding of what the typical downtown resident looks like, or perhaps more accurately what the average downtowner will look like if recent trends continue. There's more about that below the infographic.

The team decided to create an infographic to better illustrate the downtown growth trend. We used key findings from a 2005 report called Who Lives Downtown, which was authored by Eugenie L. Birch, the co-director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research. Birch says she's working on an updated report, but the demographic trends she discovered in 2005 still align with what downtowns are seeing today. Have a look.


Livability-Downtowns Infographic_FINAL.jpg

Designed by Heather Hauser, the source for this infographic was a 2005 report by Eugenie L. Birch, entitled Who Lives Downtown

A recent analysis of the type of people living in downtowns conducted by City Observatory found that a large amount of well-educated and highly talented young people are moving into downtown areas, raising the labor force and attracting the attention of businesses. The best downtowns are capitalizing on this shift, offering young professionals modern living accommodations and a full slate of amenities, including bike paths, that make it easier to get to and from work, nearby grocery stores for easy shopping, and an assortment of entertainment options that range from bars to theaters and museums. Between 2007 and 2011, downtowns experienced faster job growth than surrounding suburbs in more than half of the largest metro areas. Before 2007, only seven downtowns experienced that kind of growth. 

See our picks for the Top 10 Best Downtowns


Mitchell Kline, previous city editor for, curates and produces content for the website, including stories, photos and videos. He also wrote the Top 10 lists.