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The Best-Laid Plans: Too Much Time Spent Luring Hip, Single Folks?

WeddingcakeThe Indianapolis Business Journal's Norm Heikens has a thought-provoking post up on his blog, NewsTalk, today:

"The Wall Street Journal carried an interesting op-ed piece yesterday by a researcher who claimed cities are putting their eggs in the wrong basket by trying to attract young single professionals with a 'brew-latte-and-they-will-come-approach.'

"Joel Kotkin, presidential fellow at Chapman University, said job growth is stronger in cities like Charlotte, N.C., and Houston because they’re attracting young, educated families. These people are twice as likely to climb into the top 20 percent of income earners and their incomes are rising much faster than the national average, Kotkin argued. Thus, they are better able to build local economies.

"'The evidence … suggests that the obsession with luring young singles to cities is misplaced,' Kotkin said.

"He went on to say that families are more interested in plenty of economic opportunities, affordable housing and family-friendly environments that allow parents to spend more time with their children."

Indy already has a family-friendly reputation. Are we wasting our time trying to attract the singletons? What say ye?


Well, is the logic that young families might be more likey to stay in a location once re-located as opposed to singles? If that is provable, I guess I can see some logic. Then again, young families require more services, too (schools, parks, etc.)

Don't all families begin as young singles? Two young singles meet, fall in love and get married and BOOM, there's the family you want in town.

Good point, 7:21.

The biggest gripe I hear from my single friends is how everyone in this town is already married.

That would imply to me that we need some new recruits.

That Anti-Marriage Amendment SJR-7 certainly is a homewrecker if young, hip families are desired for Indianapolis...

Not only that, Wilson, but won't it run off current residents in high paying positions such as college professors or pharmaceutical employees?

Someday the government, whether it be local or national, will realize they need to stay out of consenting adults' bedrooms.

The last thing this city needs to do is regress to a 2004 political issue when there are much deeper problems to deal with. And I've read where that Eric Miller guy has started to crawl out of the woodwork again. Shouldn't he be more concerned with sinners within the Church?

Holy crap. I agree with the blogmistress. And I did not disappear into a cosmic paradox. At least I don't think I did.

Actually, we should be calling Jen the "Blogwife", not "Blogmistress", considering she is legally married and heavy with child conceived after holy matrimony by her own husband...

"Indy already has a family-friendly reputation."

Well, that's it right there, isn't it? We already have a family-friendly reputation, yet we aren't seeing Charlotte-like growth. So there must be something Kotkin's missing. A bigger key than either the Creative Class theory or Kotkin's family theory seems to be warm weather, quite frankly.

I don't know about Kotkin's position here to effectively critique it, but his various other wrong views make me inclined not to believe him. He thinks suburbs are good, urban living is a "fad", and our "Superstar cities" (NYC, Boston, San Francisco, etc) are overpriced and dying, which always struck me as particularly absurd. Basic supply and demand tells us that if people didn't want to live in these places, real estate there wouldn't be so expensive.

If I had to guess, I'd say the missing piece is that there are plenty of families that want to live in "cool" places too, and that those families are particularly high-achieving ones. Does Kotkin really think that a majority of say, Silicon Valley workers are single?

The problem with Indy is that there's not really one identifying characteristic - it's a pretty generic city that just seems to have popped out of the ground for no particular reason. There's no water, no mountains, and unless you love Indy Car racing, nothing that really makes it stand out from other similar sized cities.

Don't get me wrong - it's a great city overall - it just lacks character and doesn't feel unique at all.

Finish this sentance: "I really want to move to Indianapolis because _____________"

Oh - and the weather is pretty crappy most of the time.

Everyone is married?

Statistics show that 31.8% (111,990) are single living alone and there are 11.8% (41,470) single parents. That is 153,460 unattached people.

I bet they are too busy to meet other single people. Seriously!

Unless there is a job for me in Indy there isn't anything in Indy that interests me to want to live there.

Indy's a great place... but most of us who moved here from other places did so because of a girl (or guy) we met in college. And sometimes stay long after that relationship ends.

I've lived in New York, DC, Miami, Chicago and place in Europe... and spent time in various places out west and in Canada... young people in all those places think "my city is boring..." and they strike out to explore exciting places in any other direction.

Obviously Indy lacks the mountains and oceans that many great cities are built around... but it does pretty well on location and cost of living... in less than 15 minutes, I can be downtown, to the airport, at dozens of restaurants and to a wide range of shopping.

I drive to visit friends in various Chicago burbs and am always amazed how long it takes them to fight traffic... I just got back from Boston and they pay $300,000 for a tiny place with no yard... Colorado is fun, but you can't drive to visit any family.

So Indy is an easy city and actually has a remarkable variety of stuff to do for a city this size... not just the Superbowl champs, but over the past 15 years it's been cool to see the Pacers take on the Knicks, attend Formula One races, do March Madness at the Dome, catch great national bands at the Vogue, ride horses in Brown County and then get together for small-town things like the annual "tree" lighting on the Circle.

If we want to bring some cool single women to the city to improve the mix, I'm all for that... but it's been a pretty cool place to live anyway. And when you need to hit the slopes or the beach, the next flight is just a few minutes away.

Oh, and I love the way the seasons change here... Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter are all real here!

And the State Fair! Don't forget the State Fair! Where they'll fry anything that they can catch.

All within nose-shot of the cow barns.

County road, take me home...

Not trying to get political about it, 6:06 AM, but a lot of the character of our city was destroyed after UniGov caused so many people to high-tail it to the 'burbs. The downtown of Indy used to strech almost a mile further out in every direction, but after everyone bailed, the infrastructure crumbled or was torn down for parking lots, and here we stand. I can't imagine what the downtown would really look like if the Indiana Avenue buildings were all still there, as well as the original County Courthouse. Such a shame we've lost so much of our city's history and heritage.

Oh yes, "I want to move to Indy because you can live within 15 minutes of your work for a reasonable price in a nice neighborhood; the people aren't generally pretentious or stuck up; there's a great variety of people to meet from all walks of life, ethniciy, and culture; and we know how to throw great parties at our little neighborhood racetrack." I know I've complained about it being boring here, too, but familiarity breeds contempt, and overall I'm happy with my life here.

One more - anyone know those great singles? I need to find someone for my brother in law.

Just want to say...thanks for the thoughtful comments and non-trolling. This is a good topic for all central-Indiana residents to continue thinking about.


I would say that putting a highway system through our historic downtown neighborhoods (essentially making downtown a giant industrial park) and failing schools had more to do with suburban flight than UniGov. In fact, UniGov was created to prevent flight to surrounding counties.

Let me say, 8:13, that I couldn't agree with you more. People didn't seem to move around as much in the 60's, so after IU, I landed a teaching job here and became the fourth generation of my family to stay put. My grandparents didn't come from too far away either. Grandma R. actually was born here, Grandpa G. from Evansville (his parents relocated here soon after he was married) and Nana moved from southern Illinois to attend nursing school at old City Hospital.

You're never going to stop the flow of high school kids who think everyplace is better than where they are at the moment. I think the city (and state) would be best served to concentrate on colleges and jobs. Kids who come here to IU or Purdue and then land a job, will more than likely stay a while.

We have a great city. Sure it would be nice to have mountains or a beach. But we're so centrally located that a day or two drive will get you either. Our cost of living is wonderful. Friends in California paid a cool half a mil for a 1500 sq.ft. condo and it's an hour south of LA!!! You can eat out at a really fine restaurant here and not break the bank. You can park downtown and shop for three hours for a buck fifty. Try that in Chicago or New York!

I too have traveled a lot, both here and abroad. But in the end, like Dorothy said ... "There's no place like home"

If I had a young family, I'd scratch Indiana off my list as a place to live because there is absolutely no concern for the environment. The governor endorses dumping waste from oil refineries in Lake Michigan, drinking water for millions. Factory farms and feedlots are everywhere, polluting groundwater. Indianapolis doesn't even attempt to have mass transit, they just keep widening the highways to twelve, even sixteen lanes. It doesn't look like Hoosiers will ever get their environmental act together, so I can't see why anybody with young children--or without them--would want to live there.

What does Mazarin's brother-in-law look like?

And I really want to move (back) to Indy because everyone I love is there.

9:21, I won't disagree with you entirely on that.

I didn't realize until recently that the L.S. Ayres home and another home of a prominent Indy resident (right now I can't remember who) were demolished to make way for north split. Sigh. All for progress, I guess.

I'd send out a personal for the BIL but he'd be mad at me!

As a single, late-20s girl from Indy who lived in other cities for about eight years (including 3.5 years of college) and is hoping to leave here within a year or two for a bigger city partly because the singles pool sucks here, I would say that all the young people here are married or former classmates (which is a little weird, sorry) or both.

There are single people, I don't dispute that stat, because I've dated a few of said former classmates I've reconnected with, but as someone under 30 I'd like to find a guy who is under 35, never been married, and has no baby mamma drama (when I hear, "I moved back to Indy for my 10-year-old," I get a little turned off).

And if it's not too much to ask, someone somewhat liberal in their viewpoints, isn't glued to their beer/HDTV every time there's a football game (except Colts), or thinks that the only place to have fun is groping 21-year-olds at Broad Ripple dance clubs.

So with that, good luck with getting the single people to move here/meet here/get married here/raise families here unless they're already from here (I might return after leaving once I have a family, but won't be for at least 5-10 years)

Sorry to rant--this is something near and dear to my heart after trying to date here and not having much luck... (which is why another venue might be in order, or maybe it's just me, which I'm OK with)

PS Not sure why the ways and means thing links to my posting... that was a big goof. Sorry about that!

Poor Indy. I don't care, because as someone who lives "outside the beltway", I see that the general mentality is that the rest of the state doesn't really exist. I don't matter, therefore, I don't care what happens in the circle.

To all those singles out there who think your future mate is someone you're going to meet on a date. Forget it! The person you're most likely to end up marrying and staying married to should be someone with whom you share common interests. Not someone you hook up with at a bar or someone's wedding reception. Perhaps a co-worker or fellow student? Someone at church or a place you volunteer like the zoo or art museum. Ask people who've been married a long time (we're going to celebrate 30 years soon) and you'll often find that they have had similar careers or life experiences. You do have to talk to each other between bouts in the bedroom you know!

Look, folks, there is no Utopia, including the places that have beaches, mountains or both. Yes, some cities are better than others for a variety of reasons ... climate, schools, infrastructure, government, nightlife, affordability and so on.
I lost a daugher to Denver. She went there not for the mountains (a bonus) but to pursue an opportunity. I like Denver a lot, but it has its downsides (traffic is awful, for starters). Daughter No. 2 has chosen to live in Indy. She's a young single who spends a lot of time hanging out with other young singles. They certainly don't seem to lack for things to do: sports, concerts, Broad Ripple, the downtown social scene. A bunch of them went to the Circle for the tree-lighting last week, then headed over to Barcelona Tapas for dinner afterward.
I've chosen to live in Indy for no other reason than it's home and family and I'm proud of my Indiana heritage. Can't imagine living somewhere else and I've been all over the world.
That said, I'm immensely proud of the advances made by the city (stunning over the last 30 years) and state (coming much more slowly, unfortunately). I'm a glass-half-full person and it's easy to tick off dozens of reasons why this is a great place to live, work and raise a family. I love the mountains but don't need to see them out my window. That's because I also love the hills of southern Indiana and the prairie and farm land to the north. Beauty is all around us, if only you look. I hear all the time that I-65 and I-69 north are "boring." Depends on what you're looking for as you drive (or perhaps the music on your CD player).
Life's what you make it no matter where you live. Should Indianapolis and Indiana try to be attractive to young singles? Absolutely. But they also need to be attractive to families, laborers, old folks, PhDs, high school grads, the working middle class, helpful and assisting to the poor and the suffering ... you name the constituency. TDW and I disagree politically on how to reach that end, but we agree that should be the goal, not just of government, but of all of us, to continue to make our city and state as inviting as they can be to as many as possible.
OK, I'll stop now. But I could go on.

Couldn't have said it better myself, B2. As TDW has often said, her parents politics have spanned both sides of the aisle over the years. One of the things I so loved about Joe Kernan was that he stepped up to the plate with what's good about Indiana. As a former teacher, current parent and about-to-be grandparent, one thing I know - berating someone or something is counterproductive. This constant barrage of negativity about our great state serves no useful purpose. Our glass is indeed so much more than half full. No, we're not London or San Francisco or even Chicago or New York. But, as Max Ehrmann so eloquently writes in his Desiderata:

"If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans."

We would do well here in the Hoosier state to take his advice and celebrate that which we are rather than bemoaning that which we are not. As I said earlier - Frank Baum got it right: "There's no place like home"

Picky Person -- the man you're looking for doesn't exist. Anywhere.

B Squared, I couldn't agree with you more regarding the progress of Indy and the lack thereof in the rest of the state.

As the "outside the beltway" poster pointed out, she could care less about Indy. Unfortunately many more people (and believe me because I grew up in rural Indiana) actually despise Indy because they feel too many of the state's resources are focused here.

Perhaps the metro area should secede from Indiana and become it's own sovereign state. Without the 500 lb. gorilla on our back, our more educated, higher earning, environmentally conscious citizenry could enact progressive policy and work toward that utopian society you mentioned and leave the rest of the state to their anti-minority, anti-gay, anti-environment, anti-education devices and see how they fare.

If only...

For me, my entire family was here. No one from the family, except a recent college grad, now military Lt. (I think) has actually left for years. We have relatives around, but mostly everyone stayed here. This past year, I went on a two week vacation out west. The first time I had been west of the Wisconsin Dells. We went to Denver (Colorado Springs/Manitou Spings), Rapid City, Billings, Kalispell/Whitefish, and W. Yellowstone. I could see myself living in Rapid City, Billings, Kalispell/Whitefish, or the Colorado Springs area. What I like about these place is the outdoors. I hate that there is no really cool state park like Turkey Run here in the Indy metro area. One has to drive a while to get to a park. We also hit eastern TN (Gatlinburg) every few years. I could easily see myself living in Sevierville. The one thing traveling (I did not travel for years) has taught me to pass onto my kids: Do something in school that can be taken with you. Law enforcement is about the worst career choice one can pick unless they want to move to some growing urban area. It is only now that law enforcement is seeing lateral transfers. Even with that, law enforcement still doesn't pay enough to provide for the same standard of living one can get here. As such, I figured that I will bank whatever money I can here, then if we decide to retire to Kalispell, maybe get a job in the park or at a local dispatch center. Obviously the jobs to have are in law and medical field. I would not mind getting a chemistry degree to get out of law enforcement, but those degrees are usually in high demand only in major metro areas where big pharma is located. Maybe state jobs out west pay state chemist a decent wage?

Indy- Schmindy.
big whoop!just another la-dee-da fancy pants overgrown hoosier hick town. the only reason its so big is because of all the state Capitol government workers, assorted hangers- on, and your usual bunch of parasites who feed of the above.
If we moved our state capitol every couple years, all our cities would experience a lot fo growht, and doentown revitalization. Lets make fort wayen the Capitol, for about 10 years, then maybe some other hoosier backwater. say Gary. then somewhere in southern Indiana.
If Indy wasnt the state capital for all these years, it would be just like Fort Wayne, or Terre haute, or such.
dont get me wrong- I like Indy- its a nice fairly safe in places, fairly intersting in places, fairly fun midwest city.
negatives? too many of Eric miller types, and his ilk- religious fundamentalist extremist moonbats, with a penchant for theocracy. I'm nominally a "believer", but keep it out of my govt, dont make me conform, and read our currency- Liberty. Our constitution- Inalienable right to pursuit of happiness.
and so on.
Indiana has too may laws, too many bureaucrats, govt regulatory agencies, commsiisone,licensing boards, and such.
too many cops with too much time on their hands. too many busybodies, too many uptight persons trying to impose their lifestyles on others, and to set in their ways to change. The "kids" that end up living in INDYfor any length of time ( or anywhere in Indiana, for tha matter, become "pod-people", and start to think like hoosiers. thereare soo many cool states- by cool, I mean the attitudes of the citizens, take California (please..)
People out west are laid back, and mellow, dude. the are content to let people "do their own thing, man". Mostly non-judgemental. the last time Indiana was coolwas when the Indian tribes lived here. they were "green" before it became a cliche.
But if Indiana is such a hip cool place, with so much to do and so much to see, and with such happy, smiling people, then what is the problem? why are our kids in a hurry to "get out of dodge"? where do they leave lkie a bat out of hell to goto?
what do all these so-called exotic places have that we dont? Are we just doing a bad job of makreting? or is it really so boring, that Hey- lets go drive out into the boonies, and tip over a few cows" really sounds exciting? Fort Wayne has no rail service, nor interurban railways, so I have to drive my poor van anywhere- at 3.50 a gallon for fuel. Amtrak is cheap. so is the bus, but both have their drawbacks.
I like Indiana, mostly- 4 seasons( the weather, no hotel). I garden, I visit with my family. The winters are such that its perfect to do indoor projects, or hobbies- blogging, building custom cars, and so on. There are a few swimming holes, scattered about, and a rich, varied colorful history.
Someone in am earlier post mentioned that first you aresingle, then get married, then voila! but it costs lots of money, and the odds for an expensive messy divorce are nt in your favor. single women with kids? sure, and their insane ex.-part of the package.no thank you. Lots of strip clubs in Hoosier land. lots of saloons. but also lots of hoosier rednecks, hicks, and hillbillies right out of "deliverance".
Lotsof Meth labs. lots of "recently released sex offenders"- Fort Wayne has 500, in a 10 mile radius of downtown. I havent checked Indys.
anyway, homes are cheap, because the pay scale/wages are cheap. Rents are sky high. Vehicles are sky high. health care, and education costs seem to be immune to supply and demand.
in all, a very interesting mix of good and bad. But where are all the jobs? and where are all the "hot" single women?
so we're all stuck here, inhoosier land, trying to make the most out of this overdeveloped cornfield/ retail fast food/conveneince stors urban sprawl land we "love to call home". woo-hoo!

To Ex Hoosier: "Picky Person -- the man you're looking for doesn't exist. Anywhere."

Oh, crap. Time to take up that whole nun lifestyle I contemplated pre-dating life. At least it will make my mom happy! :) (But I'll probably still move out of Indiana for that one.)

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