Boston’s poor job market and early bedtime drive students to settle down elsewhere after graduation, some local politicians and experts said.
Though students funnel billions into the city economy each year and make up one-third of the population, the city is not attractive for students looking to start their lives after school, city and university officials said.
‘We need to make sure we are not turning off people who would consider sticking around,’ City Councilor-at-Large Sam Yoon, who is running alongside mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty as his deputy mayor, said through a spokesman. ‘That’s about making sure public transportation meets young people’s need and that there is enough night life and culture to make the city appealing.’
A July report by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston found that the population of the 25-39 demographic in Massachusetts has decreased by 306,955 from 1990 to 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
Students are concerned about the early closing time of the city, Natasha Perez, City Councilor-at-Large Flaherty’s spokeswoman, said. The last Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train from Kenmore Station departs at 12:35 a.m. each night, but most city bars close around 2 a.m.
‘It’s not about cultural elements, it’s that this city is not modern,’ Perez said.
Recent graduates are also motivated to leave the city by inadequate school systems, she said.
‘Students come to this city to get a great education, and afterwards they decide to have a career and a family, but they cannot do that in Boston,’ Perez said. ‘There are no jobs because there are no new companies coming to Boston.’
But Boston University Career Services Director Kimberly DelGizzo said despite the difficult economy, there are currently plenty of jobs to go around, pointing to other reasons for the post-graduation exodus.
‘My sense is that there are jobs and people are not leaving Boston because of a lack of positions,’ she said.
But the city has not ignored the needs of post-graduate employment needs, ‘One in Three Boston’ Director Devin Cole said. The ‘One in Three Boston’ initiative, was started by Mayor Thomas Menino in 2004, and is designed provide the 20-34-year-old demographic with resources such as jobs and housing in an effort to encourage more of them to stay.
‘This age group makes up a third of the city of Boston from pretty much any angle and has a huge impact economically and socially,’ Cole said.
BU School of Management sophomore Katrina Cho said a lack of opportunities will deter her from staying in Boston after she graduates.
‘I will most definitely leave Boston after I graduate,’ she said. ‘I want to work in a corporation and there are not a lot of companies here.’