The four states of the American Southwest has been named the 'new capital of influence' by Forbes Magazine, and the number one city for the young, college educated millennials who are increasingly shaping our world is San Antonio, Newsradio 1200 WOAI news reports.
Forbes surveyed people between the ages of 18 and 34 and asked them 'which cities in the Southwest will be the best places for their generation.'
Topping the list was San Antonio.
"San Antonio hits the appeal trifecta," Forbes said. "A dynamic economy, employment opportunities, and affordable living. Reasons cites for picking San Antonio ranged from 'I think it would be a safe city to raise a family' to 'it is expanding every day and providing new job opportunities, the atmosphere is great, and there are a lot of activities to do and festivities to join."
Mario Hernandez, who heads the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation, says as recently as a decade ago, ambitious, college educated young people couldn't wait to get out of San Antonio.
"One of the things we have always been accused of is that we lose talent," Hernandez said. "That we don't keep the young, college age person here."
Local officials contacted by Newsradio 1200 WOAI news all cited several common reasons why San Antonio has undergone a total reversal of fortune in the last decade. Many credit the city's dynamic universities, which now have a total college population of 150,000, more than Austin. Many credit Graham Weston, who defied Silicon Valley to locate his cloud computing firm Rackspace in the city, and also spearheaded the tech start up Geekdom.
Forbes cites one other reason for San Antonio's success. The fact that San Antonio has become a gathering place for bright young Hispanics.
"It is very family oriented city and culture, and that has a lot to do with the fact that almost sixty percent of the population here is Hispanic."
Hernandez points out that many Hispanic young people flock to San Antonio due to those cultural achievements.
Number two on the list of the top Southwestern cities for millennials is San Diego, with Los Angeles number three. But the big drawbacks of those two cities are the cost of living in California.
Interestingly, San Francisco, which prides itself on being the progressive heart of the millennial world, ranks only number nine, again, largely due to the fact that its costs put it out of reach for all but a handful of young people.
Austin ranks number five, with Dallas Ft. Worth number seven and Houston number eight.
Hernandez says this is the kind of ranking that the city can truly capitalize on.
"We have to send a message to the work force, this group of 18 to 35, that this is a great place to live.
Economists say this is a great time for a city like San Antonio to be on a list like this. Unlike previous generations, where people went where the jobs were, employers, especially high tech employers who are seeking out college educated millennials, are increasingly locating where the workers are.