Friday, April 26, 2013

Move Or Die

Greater density isn't helping low-income, native-born New Yorkers. The Center for an Urban Future unwittingly devised a natural experiment to test my migration hypothesis. I contend that talent churn, not greater density, drives city creativity and prosperity. The surprising findings:

New York City appears to be in a new golden age of entrepreneurship. In recent years, mid-career investment bankers, lawyers and media professionals have forged out on their own, opening everything from food trucks and restaurants to digital marketing agencies. Twenty-something college grads facing the worst job market in decades have turned to entrepreneurship in droves, establishing Internet start-ups, design firms and countless other new ventures. And immigrants from Washington Heights to Sheepshead Bay have continued to open food carts, franchises and other businesses at a rapid clip.

But amid the veritable start-up boom, some groups have fared better than others. Among those disproportionately left out of the new-economy bonanza are low-income, native-born New Yorkers, research released today by my organization, the Center for an Urban Future, shows.

Analyzing U.S. Census data, our researchers found that all 10 ZIP codes in the city with the lowest rates of self-employment have median incomes below $33,000, and in all but one the share of the native-born population exceeds the city average.

Emphasis added. Move or die. Immigrants are disproportionately entrepreneurial. Those who are stuck in a neighborhood tend to risk averse.

The neighborhoods with more churn (i.e. less native-born New Yorkers) are the places where the start-up magic happens.It is not a matter of financial capital or greater density. The issue is geographic mobility. Migrants are better problem solvers. They are more creative. Migration is economic development.

No comments: