With your college diploma in hand and future ahead, many young people look to strike out on their own in the big city. New York, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C., are no longer the top magnets for recent college grads, however, as urban centers like Austin, Denver, Buffalo, and Nashville are drawing twenty-somethings and thirty-somethings.

A new report published this week finds that young people continue to spurn the suburbs for urban living. The number of college-educated people aged 25 to 34 living within three miles of city centers has increased 37 percent since 2000, even as the total population of these neighborhoods has slightly shrunk. Even more, young people are moving to the very heart of cities — unafraid of economically troubled places like Buffalo and Cleveland.

What attracts us are economic opportunities and quality of life. The cost of living plays a significant factor, as college grads often aren’t securing big-paying jobs in this sluggish economy and given financial restraints from student loan debt. It’s no surprise that some of the cities increasingly attracting more young people are also in low and lower tax states.

And when we arrive we don’t just take jobs, we create new jobs and opportunities and we transform cities for the good over the long term

CNBC reports:

The economic effects reach beyond the work the young people do, according to Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, and author of "The New Geography of Jobs." For every college graduate who takes a job in an innovation industry, he found, five additional jobs are eventually created in that city, such as for waiters, carpenters, doctors, architects and teachers.

About 25 percent more young college graduates live in major metropolitan areas today than in 2000, which is double the percentage increase in cities' total population. All the 51 biggest metros except Detroit have gained young talent, either from net migration to the cities or from residents graduating from college, according to the report…

Denver has many of the tangible things young people want, economists say, including mountains, sunshine and jobs in booming industries like tech. Perhaps more important, it also has the ones that give cities the perception of cultural cool, like microbreweries and bike-sharing and an acceptance of marijuana and same-sex marriage.

Other cities that have had significant increases in a young and educated population and that now have more than their share include San Diego, Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Portland, Ore.

How many eventually desert the city centers as they age remains to be seen, but demographers predict that many will stay. They say that could not only bolster city economies, but also lead to decreases in crime and improvements in public schools. If the trends continue, places like Pittsburgh and Buffalo could develop a new reputation — as role models for resurgence.

It shouldn’t surprise us that young people can bring a boom for struggling urban areas. This adds a unique perspective to the debates about urban renewal.

The cost of living plays a role in why so many young people are drawn to formerly unpopular urban areas. It's no coincidence that the cities of Austin, Houston, Nashville, and Pittsburgh are in no or low-income tax states. Austin, TX, which hosts the annual uber cool South by Southwest (SXSW) conference, is one of the fastest growing tech and business incubators outside of Silicon Valley.

Millennials are also innovative and entrepreneurial; we’re interested in disruptions to traditional business, like Uber and Airbnb. And we are big on community. Technology affords us the opportunity to meet each other's transportation, housing, and social needs through apps and online platforms. Government has been slow to understand that.

Government can play a few roles in making their locales young person-friendly. Lower taxes to lower the cost of living and relax regulations on starting and growing small businesses. When disruptive technology challenges established industries, it’s not time for local governments to refrain from picking winners and losers in what should be a free market. Government should allow competition to flourish and the best companies with the best products and services should win.

Many of our cities are in need of a new injection of youthful energy, ideas, and dollars. Local officials should do their best to make way for young people by getting out of the way.