LANSING, Mich. — As economies slowly begin to restart and Americans adjust to a vastly different professional and social landscape, the places in which we choose to live, work and play are adjusting as well. According to Business Insider [businessinsider.com], one-third of Americans are considering moving to less densely populated places. In a recent list ranking the best places to live in the United States following the COVID-19 pandemic, Lansing is ranked No. 22, boasting one of the highest shares of jobs that can be done from home at 41 percent, and a cost of living 8.8 percent below the national average.
Additionally, with a population of 464,036 according to the 2010 census, the Lansing region is smack-dab in the middle of what Area Development [areadevelopment.com] describes as a “midsize” market: a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) with population between 150,000 and 1,000,000, which is exactly the type of reduced-density population Business Insider identifies Americans are increasingly seeking. Additionally, Lansing ranks No. 15 in BestCities.org [purelansing.com]’s 2020 rankings of America’s best small cities, citing an increasingly high-tech economy in the insurtech, medtech and IT spaces.
Also top of mind are cities with a higher concentration of “durable employment sectors” — those more resilient to major economic upheavals like COVID-19 — including government, finance and professional and technical services. According to the Yardi Matrix [purelansing.com], Lansing boasts an economy in which 44 percent of jobs fall within this durable employment category — the highest of any city in the nation.
“Before the great disruption of the coronavirus crisis, we knew that Lansing, including the surrounding region of Clinton, Eaton and Ingham counties, is America’s best big small city,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership (LEAP). “Our region is the perfect fit for businesses looking to grow or land in the United States and for talent seeking the balance of a midsize community that provides both big-city amenities and small-town community and charm.”
As talent considers a new scene, it is the perfect time for businesses to lean into their growing interest in midsize markets. The business landscape has already begun to shift away from a historical focus on traditional industry centers and toward “big small cities” with a more diversified economy.
According to Area Development, talent pipelines are the single most critical factor in strategic location decisions when selecting the perfect midsize market site. The Lansing region is already home to two educational powerhouses, Michigan State University (MSU) and Lansing Community College (LCC), which produce a continually robust pipeline of new graduates spanning the gamut from technical certificates and associates to Ph.D.s and doctorates.
Complementing the surge of medtech-focused investment and growth, MSU offers the most medical schools of any postsecondary institution in the country (two human medicine, one veterinary), and was also the first institution to offer a graduate degree in nuclear physics, which remains the top program in the nation [usnews.com]. Coupled with the potential influx of people looking to move to a smaller urban center with the nation’s most durable economy and flexible work options, the Lansing region is poised to make an even stronger case as the top choice for business, industry and talent.
“LEAP’s business attraction efforts, on behalf of the entire three county region, have had historic success over the last few years, and we’re doubling down on our targeted efforts to pinpoint companies actively seeking to invest in regions like ours in the post-pandemic environment,” said Bob Trezise, president and CEO of LEAP. “We have confidence in our chance for continued success with these efforts, due to support from LEAP members and local economic development partners. As we currently work with multiple major national-caliber prospects, LEAP is most excited about our region’s future.”
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