New Report Finds Younger Adults and Singles Dominate Downtown Living

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The crowds at First Fridays in the Crossroads help energize downtown.

Downtown Kansas City residents are younger, more likely to be single and living by more ethnically diverse neighbors than the rest of the city and metro, according to a new study by the Downtown Council.

The new State of Downtown report found the population of Greater Downtown is expected to jump from 21,000 in 2010 to 32,000 in 2020, a 52.4 percent increase

And the largest share are millennials ages 20-36, 41 percent compared to 26 percent in the metro as a whole.

The report was prepared based on Census data and research by mySidewalk, an independent data clearinghouse. Greater Downtown is defined as from the river south to 31st Street, and from the West Bottoms east to the 18th and Vine District.

“When you add it together, downtown has a youthful, diverse, growing population of high-wage earners in a growing economy in the most affordable, amenity-rich neighborhood in our region,” Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, said in a statement.

Almost three-fourths of downtown residents are younger than the Baby Boom generation. (Chart from Downtown Council).

The report estimated $2 billion in new economic projects have been generated over the past 2 1/2 years since the streetcar line opened.

That new streetcar and the Royals 2015 World Series win, a huge downtown celebration, also contributed to an 11 percent bump in the level of satisfaction by downtown residents over the past couple years. It’s now at 84 percent, according to the study.

It also found downtown’s millennial population comparable to what the study determined were peer cities: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Louisville, Salt Lake City and San Antonio.

Besides being more youthful–three-fourths are younger than the Baby Boomer generation–the downtown population is much more diverse. About 53 percent is African-American, Hispanic, Asian or Native American.

Downtown Kansas City is projected to have 32,000 residents by 2020. (Chart from Downtown Council).

“This adds to the vibrancy and resilience of our downtown culture spurring greater diversity in development, retail and restaurants,” the report stated.

The report also found downtown is predominately single. Only 26 percent of its residents are married, 70 percent have never married or are divorced.

It also found 81,740 people were employed in Greater Downtown, the greatest density in the region. They collectively earned more than $3.5 billion in total annual wages.

“It’s no exaggeration to say downtown Kansas City is the economic hub of the region,” Dietrich said.

Downtown Council officials added the report can be updated regularly with information supplied by mySidewalk.

“The State of Downtown report is an effective platform for telling the downtown Kansas City story with facts, figures and reliable data,” Dietrich said.

Downtown has seen a big jump in the number of residential units. (Chart from Downtown Council).

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