Urban legend and the media echo chamber so often get things wrong. No wonder we don't hear about the coolest, hippest, most desirable city in the United States — the place millennials choose more than any other American city.
Welcome to the real Colorado Springs.
The Brookings Institution's Metropolitan Policy Program documented and proved the stature of Colorado Springs as the top destination for millennials in a report released last month, titled "The Millennial Generation: A Demographic Bridge to America's Diverse Future." It is buried on a shelf.
Cities with the highest millennial growth between 2010-2015 (latest reliable census data), were: 1. Colorado Springs; 2. San Antonio; 3. Denver; 4. Orlando, Fla.; 5. Honolulu; 6. Austin, Tex.; 7. Cape Coral, Fla.; 8. Houston; 9. Sarasota, Fla.; and 10. Seattle.
Colorado Springs ranked sixth on the study's list of "cities with the highest share of millennial population." With an obvious upsurge in arriving millennials throughout 2017, Colorado Springs likely will top that list soon.
We've all heard how the Springs is not cool. Too many conservatives, religious fanatics, and intolerant bigots galore.
The mainstream national media pack spent inordinate energy throughout 2010 and 2011 obsessively portraying our city as the symbol of what goes wrong when politicians and voters enact cautious fiscal policies to survive a nationwide recession.
"The city is famously right-wing," explained a 2010 article in Governing magazine, which concluded the pack media assault on Colorado Springs did not reflect truth.
"There's even a feeling of progressive urban planning," the article expressed in dismay with the onslaught of anti-Springs reports. "More than 70 miles of on-street bicycle lanes thread their way across the city, and the city manages another 100 miles of urban trails for jogging and hiking. Green spaces downtown are filled with eclectic sculptures by local artists. It's easy to walk around the place and wonder what all the fuss is about."
Years later, then-New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg called our city so primitive "I don't think there's roads." Voters here had recalled a state senator he liked.
When a troubled man tried to bomb his accountant's office in 2015, the media surmised Colorado Springs must be racist. The International Business Times published a poorly sourced hatchet piece about "Racism in Colorado Springs." The accountant's building also housed the local NAACP, so the publication chose to promote a phony and worn-out narrative on speculation.
The negative media nabobs should bow their heads in shame, in response to the new scientific report. Don't hold out for it.
Normally, the mainstream national press run with studies about millennials, because the generation sets trends. It makes up 30 percent of the voting age populace and two-fifths of the working age public. Mayors, council members, chamber of commerce officials, and other civic leaders try to plan, regulate and market their cities with hopes of attracting this young demographic.
The mainstream press has given almost no attention to the Brookings results, which are an embarrassment alongside the false narrative long assigned to Colorado Springs.
"The millennial generation, now 44 percent minority, is the most diverse generation in American history," the study said. "While its lasting legacy is yet to be determined, this generation is set to serve as a social, economic, and political bridge to chronologically successive (and increasingly) racially diverse generations."
And they choose Colorado Springs, more than any other place. It may remain the country's best-kept secret.