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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Really? Cedar Rapids ranks #4 among cities for young pros

Believe it or not, Cedar Rapids has been ranked one of the top cities in the U.S. for young professionals by a Madison, Wis.-based consulting firm.

Cedar Rapids ranks fourth among cities with a population of 100,000 to 200,000, according to Next Generation Consulting, a market research outfit that helps businesses and cities attract and retain young talent.

The only cities ranked higher than Cedar Rapids in its population bracket were Fort Collins, Colo., Charleston, S.C., and Eugene, Ore. Des Moines ranked twelfth.

“Take that, Des Moines,” said Christian Fong, chairman of Cedar Rapids’ Next Generation Commission, with a laugh.

The consulting company arrives at its rankings by measuring how healthy and green a city is, how much money people make, the city’s education and library system, its weekend and nightlife, cost of living, transportation and “social capital” — that is, how diverse and safe the town is and how many people vote.

Cedar Rapids performed well in cost of living and social capital, was above average in earning and life outside of work, and was average in education, transportation and health measurements.

Cities were rewarded in the rankings for doing well in several categories, and Fong wasn’t surprised that Cedar Rapids came out so well. Mountains and major metropolitan areas are great, he said, but ski towns don’t have a lot of good jobs, and it costs a lot to live in New York City.

“One thing that’s different about the next generation is our pursuit of really a balanced lifestyle,” he said, something you find in many Midwestern cities. “This is the one place in the country where you can uniquely have a great paycheck, a great career, great civic opportunities, great social opportunities.”

Next Generation Consulting has worked for the Quad Cities and the Technology Corridor Business Alliance in Iowa City.

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9 Responses

  1. Young Professional says:

    I’ll go with “or not”

    Cedar Rapids is a dead city. The flood was the best thing that ever happened to it, mark my words. Why? Because of the money flowing into our economy, the jobs created, the people who stayed who actually cared about their home or city, and the opportunity for CHANGE. Cedar Rapids was on a long road to death before, but actually may have some glimmer of hope now.

    “great paycheck, a great career, great civic opportunities, great social opportunities.”

    Bull. Show me where all these great jobs and entertainment options are. Sounds like this consulting firm is like the $350 an hour guy Cedar Rapids hired…getting paid, for knowing nothing.

  2. Ray T says:

    You have got to be kidding. If I were young and living in CR, the first thing I would do is look for a way out of town. Downtown is a morbid joke, nightlife is centered around getting drunk, transportation is ancient, crime borders on Somalia-like and the city govt is the laughing stock of Iowa. I wouldn’t want to raise a hamster in CR let alone a family.

  3. concerned_citizen says:

    I have to agree wth most of that. The only thing I can guess is that the consulting firm conducting the survey is jockeying for money from our inept city government as yet another unnecessary and overpaid outside consulting firm. I bet we rank #1 in the nation in that department!

  4. Tim says:

    Wow, is that study off. More evidence that “consultants” just care about a paycheck than accuracy. Let’s take the Des Moines-Cedar Rapids comparison. Sure, Des Moines used to be a dead town, but has improved by leaps and bounds over the last ten years. C.R is a dump where the residents’ favorite pastime seems to be staying home and watching TV (or sitting in a bar guzzling Busch Light). Sure there are some good pockets, but I’ll take DM, the Quad Cities, Iowa City, and Dubuque over Cedar Crapids any day.

  5. i agree with you guys. I’m no longer a young professional but most of the people i know are. we all agree that it is looking kind of bleak around here.

  6. Rob says:

    We just had a flood that was then only thing that saved this city from dire straits ! Yes, this is true. So a few hundred yuppy professional kids are here in our great city. So what ! What about the rest of the hard working people in CR. Mininal disposition is no different from living in a vacumn. Do we all remember the “American Dream”. It was nothing but hype too. Just like this report.

    Rob

  7. DJ says:

    To:Young Professional, Ray T, converned_citizen, and Tim,

    If you all feel so poorly about Cedar Rapids, I have just one thing to say, dont let the door hit you on your asses on the way out, we don’t need or want you here.

  8. Don says:

    I’m not young anymore by any means , but I’m woundering if anyone from that consulting firm has ever been in CR . Dubuque has got CR beat hands down in the “activities dept” . CR has NEVER been in the top cities in Iowa for activities and now safety at night needs to be called into question.

  9. Anne says:

    I’m dismayed to see so many negative reactions here. Cedar Rapids, like any city, is what you make of it.

    There are tons of things going on here — especially in the summer (festivals, farmers market, theater performances, etc). This city has ample opportunities to get involved in local organizations and boards, lots of very good locally-owned restaurants and bars, beautiful parks, easy access to higher education, and affordable housing.

    I wish more of our residents saw all of these positive things that outside consultants see.

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