Creativity by Megapolitan and Non-Megapolitan County

Authors: Michael McCarthy*, Utica College
Topics: Economic Geography, Cultural Geography, United States
Keywords: economic geography, creative,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 5:00 PM / 6:40 PM
Room: Maryland C, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Workers in creative occupations play increasingly important roles in the economy of the United States. The study of creative workers, often called “creatives,” often occurs at the city or metropolitan scales but there has been little analysis at the “megapolitan” scale. Megapolitan areas account for less than 17 percent of the landmass of the 48 contiguous United States but contained 63 percent of the population and 71 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product. This research expands the understanding of creatives by contrasting the predictor variables that explain the percentage of the workforce in creative occupations for megapolitan counties with non-megapolitan counties. Using ordinary-least squares regression with US Census Bureau data from 2010, the 654 megapolitan counties yielded a two-variable model: percentage of the adult population with a bachelor’s degree and average wages. By contrast, the 2,455 non-megapolitan counties generated a three-variable model: percent of the adult population with a bachelor’s degree, the average wages predictor variable that featured prominently in the megapolitan county model was replaced with population growth rate from 2000-2010, and the median gross rent as percentage of income predictor variables. The dominance of the education variable in both the megapolitan and non-megapolitan models highlights the link between education and creativity showing the complementary ideas of Glaeser’s Human Capital Theory and Florida’s Creative Class Theory. Additional analysis with 2016 data shows an increased contribution of the education variable – percent of the adult population with a bachelor’s degree – to both the megapolitan and non-megapolitan models.

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