It's a smaller world, with an urban rhythm

What do urban people care about most?

What do talented professionals in their most productive working years care about most? What are the qualities that cities need in order to continue building prosperity? What about the increasing proportion of older citizens as we live longer or slow our rate of natural population growth? Does a rising percentage of people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s pose a threat to urban social and health services and city growth? Or does the very density of city life suggest a pathway into dealing with aging naturally and logically? Will longevity turn into value potential as elder citizens continue their vital engagement in city life?

To answer these questions, Cities of Opportunity 6: We the urban people looks through a number of lenses at the demographics of our 30 cities.

The study compares population statistics overall by the averages, segmented into six age groups: youth, young workers, prime age workers, seasoned workers, retirees (including a share for those still working among this increasingly healthy age group), and the elderly over age 75.

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Demographics are not destiny. They are fluid

The perceived ticking time bomb of an aging world may not go off after all if we more fully value and better engage older citizens in city life and modify approaches to living accommodations and care. In fact, the aging megatrend could pay dividends if people, cities, and organizations adapt to the potential, as well as needs, of a growing older demographic. Similarly, urban densities that might seem tight from the outside can lend themselves to efficiency. More spread-out cities can be managed effectively when they start to sprawl. And migration adds another element to the flow of urban population patterns.

Cities are defining a new world

Urban values are increasingly a common denominator in the world today, and opportunity is the key word. We consulted with our own professionals on city life because they offer a broad proxy for the educated, globally mobile service sector of engineers, technicians, skilled trade workers, and others upon which cities depend for growth. We also recognized PwC is among the world’s most urban and globalized businesses, organized in strategic cities to reflect the needs and footprint of our clients. Many of our almost 190,000 people work in the very cities we study in Cities of Opportunity.

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PwC professionals look for and stay in cities with…

  • High Cities of Opportunity 6 scores in intellectual capital and innovation, as well as technology readiness.
  • Solid demographics and livability—the second strongest draw for relocation.
  • Good health, safety, and security, which posts the third highest positive correlation with those who plan to put down long-term roots in a city.
All this seems natural for skilled professionals in the prime of their career working in a knowledge-based economy.

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