Economic growth in western and southwestern cities like Austin, Houston, Denver, and Portland is exceeding records predating the financial crisis. This is due to a boost in service and technology jobs in these western metropolitan areas, and millennials arriving in droves.
While northeastern cities like New York City remain the powerhouses of politics and culture (for what it’s worth, this is based on amount of monetary contributions to political campaigns), those who are the future of political and cultural power—the millennials—seem to prefer western cities. In fact, Houston has the largest average of annual influx of 25–34 year olds at 12,000 whereas New York City lost 20,369 millennials.
This shift in population has placed its center in Texas County, Missouri; the most western center in US history. Along with young workers, corporations are shifting their home bases west. Houston is among the top metropolitan areas with the highest GDP in the last 7 years with a growth of 22.4%, just behind Portland, Oregon as the leader. Companies ranging from established to startup are choosing these western locations in order to take advantage of the young, educated workforce.
Inevitably, there is a downside, and it is in the housing market. Housing shortages and skyrocketing rent prices are affecting not only the migrating workforce, but the established communities being displaced due to the population shift.