• In your opinion, why are Rochester’s younger adults leaving?

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    Migration by year born

    Over the past 10 years, Greater Rochester has seen a net 8,300 younger workers — or 5.7% — leave Rochester.

    According to a recent article in the Democrat & Chronicle, young professionals are leaving Rochester at a substantial rate. Here’s an excerpt below. In your opinion, why do you think people are leaving Rochester?

    Many in the business community have been saying it for years, and now there are concrete numbers to back it up: Young professionals are leaving the Rochester area.

    New demographic data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau show that Monroe County’s workforce has dwindled, while the region’s migratory population gains came only from the elderly and middle- and high-school-aged youths.

    Every segment of people born between the years of 1936 and 1990 showed some level of migration away from Monroe County over the past 10 years, with the largest exodus coming from those born between 1966 and 1980.

    In 2000, there were about 145,000 county residents who were born in that time frame. By last year, that same group had dwindled to roughly 135,000.

    Of the decrease, only about 1,700 can be attributed to deaths, meaning that over the past 10 years, the Rochester area has seen a net 8,300 younger workers — or 5.7 percent of the original total — leave the area for other parts of the country and world.

    “I didn’t have any hard feelings about Rochester, I just wanted to get out of there and find myself,” said Janet Kotwas, 30, a Honeoye Falls-Lima High School graduate who now lives in San Clemente, Calif. “I was working dead-end jobs and wasn’t really doing anything with my life.”

    Employment is likely the biggest factor, said Alexei Alexandrov, assistant professor of economics at the University of Rochester’s Simon School of Business. The area’s universities attract a good share of students, but many of those students stay for only a handful of years after graduation, he said.

    “It’s probably easier to get a job locally than it is to go into the national job market,” said Alexandrov. “But once they’re in a company here, they network, and then many of them move. In 10 years, they’ll definitely have had a chance to go somewhere else.”

    The Rochester Young Professionals group started in 2002 as a direct result of young people moving out of the area, said Steve Vogt, the group’s president.

    “Young people want to be in an area with energy that excites them,” Vogt said. “The right track is to build up downtown. Why people were moving to the South is because they are taking the southern cities, knocking down everything that was there and building whole new cities — lifestyle centers, places where you can work and play in the same area. Downtown Rochester is coming back.”

    [Read more on democratandchronicle.com]

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