According to USA Nation, educated 20- and 30-somethings are flocking to live downtown in the USA’s largest cities — even urban centers that are losing population:
However, Birmingham seems to be bucking the trend. According to the report, Birmingham’s city center lost 600 of these young people over the last decade. Compare this to the more than two-thirds of the nation’s 50 other largest cities, where the young college educated population living within 3 miles of the city center grew twice as fast as the rest of the metro area.
Given that this demographic is very interested in the urban lifestyle, my guess is this could be due to fact that most of the inner city neighborhoods near downtown are very run down and/or lack quality housing that this demographic can afford. Thus, many of them are living over the mountain or on the 280 corridor instead of near downtown. It may also have something to do with where the jobs are. Downtown has been shedding jobs for years.
If it is due to a lack of safe, quality and cool affordable housing, then I sense an opportunity that multi-family developers might want to look into.