More classes are in session than ever in Chicago. The share of Chicagoans over age 25 with bachelor’s degrees or higher leapt from 29.3 percent in 2006 to 36.4 percent last year, with the sharpest increase starting in 2011. That share is significantly higher in the CBD, with nearly 80 percent of the population holding undergraduate and graduate degrees.
Chicago’s hike was larger than any of the country’s four other most populous cities—New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia—and more than twice the 4.3 percent national increase.
Let’s look at some major demographic forces at play in the development of the CBD’s well-educated, diverse and skilled labor force.
Chicago’s wage growth with per capita income is currently 11 percent above the national average. Approximately one quarter of Chicago area households bring in more than $100,000 in income, and narrowing to the CBD drives that number past 45 percent.
Compared with New York, an increasing share of Chicago is being inhabited by households making double the national average household income. That’s closely tied to our abundance of well-paying, skilled labor jobs and will provide even more meaningful opportunities for future generations, who will benefit from their parents’ education levels.
The majority of Cook County townships have seen an increase in population since 2010.
That population growth has fueled a 15.3 percent increase of educated Millennials in the CBD in the past five years. More than 145,000 bright minds now graduate annually from the Chicago area’s 136 institutions of higher learning. That’s music to the ears of Chicago’s largest occupiers of office space, and we should be seeing our GPA on the rise for years to come.
Sources: Esri, Census, American Community Survey (complied by Zotti)