Downtown Cleveland Population Hits 15k with Plans for Urban Density to Reach 20k by 2020

October 2017

Downtown Cleveland Population Hits 15k with Plans for Urban Density to Reach 20k by 2020

Until recently, urban planners separated metropolitan areas into different spaces for different things. A central business district was for working; an entertainment district was for having fun; and suburbs were for living. But today, more and more people want to “live, work and play” in the same place. Case in point: The growth of the downtown Cleveland population.

The number of people living in downtown Cleveland has more than doubled since 2000, from roughly 7,500 to 15,000 today. Downtown Cleveland Alliance (DCA), the only not-for-profit organization dedicated solely to building a dynamic downtown, expects that number to continue to grow at a rapid pace.

"Our goal is to have 20,000 residents living in the downtown Cleveland neighborhood by the end of 2020," said DCA President and CEO Joe Marinucci.

And to help it grow, Marinucci will continue to stress the “live, work and play” model, on which downtown Cleveland is uniquely positioned to deliver. The “live” part is on track as evidenced by the growing number of downtown residents. "Play" is taken care of by everything from the city’s newly refurbished Public Square, to its thriving food scene, professional sports teams, and proximity to attractions like Playhouse Square, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Lakefront and more. And “work,” says Marinucci, is delivered by companies that choose to locate their businesses downtown.

"People can live and play downtown but what really fuels growth is employment and the concentration of jobs," said Marinucci. “There is no more important commitment a company can make to a city than to locate its corporate headquarters downtown.” Marinucci says KeyBank is one example. Key is a DCA member company, and Key Community Bank Co-President E.J. Burke is on its board.

"With its corporate headquarters located right in the center of the downtown Cleveland neighborhood off Public Square, Key is an anchor of downtown Cleveland employment and is essential to the continued success of our live, work and play model," said Marinucci.

As for who’s moving downtown, DCA says the most significant increases have been among college-educated, higher-income millennials and baby boomers. A recent study by The Center for Population Dynamics at Cleveland State University, found the average salary in downtown Cleveland was $73,561, compared to $48,257 for Cuyahoga County, outside of downtown.

The same study found most downtown residents work in knowledge economy sectors such as law, accounting, engineering, architecture, and research and development. Many are also employed in “eds and meds” – with 6 percent working in education and the largest number—21 percent—working in health care.

“We know that some of our downtown residents work at Cleveland State University and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, which are located with within the boundaries of the downtown neighborhood, but many also choose to live downtown and work in University Circle,” said Marinucci. "World-class eds and meds institutions like the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, and Case Western Reserve University are all just a short bus ride away on the Health Line, which makes for a very easy commute for our residents."