The Workforce Creativity Index of Silicon Pasture

Creativity lives!

A couple of days ago I StumbledUpon an article by Richard Florida that explains why creative, independent thinkers leave cities like Pittsburgh.

Florida, a professor at the University of Toronto, talks about a chat he had with a “young man with spiked multi-colored hair, full-body tattoos, and multiple piercings in his ears” on the campus of Carnegie Mellon. Instead of being the “obvious slacker” that Florida took him for, this student had just signed the highest-paying job of any graduating student in the history of his department.

And guess what? The job wasn’t in Pittsburgh.

His recruiters flew in from Austin, TX, wore T-shirts around campus, and inked the deal on the grass in front of an academic building.

According to Florida, certain cities are much more attractive to these types of independent, creative, “rock-star” employees. San Francisco and Austin top the list of large creative cities, while Memphis and Norfolk VA round out the bottom.

So how do Silicon Pasture cites Harrisburg and York rank?


Thanks to Mayor Stephen Reed’s revitalization programs and aggressive high-technology initiatives (like the Murata Business Center and Harrisburg University), Harrisburg has managed to attract a pretty creative workforce.

Harrisburg ranks 7th out of 32 in Florida’s “Creative Index” in the list of metro areas between 500,000 and 1 million people:

Top 10 Medium Cities


Unfortunately, York is a different story.

On the list of the 63 metro areas with populations between 250,000 and 500,000 residents, York ranks a sorry 58th:

Bottom 10 Small Cities

I bet the low number of “creative class” workers in York County is due to the high number of manufacturing and industrial companies with operations in York (like Harley-Davidson, Starbucks, and all of the companies in and around Emigsville).

Do you agree with Florida’s stance that “cities without gays and rock bands are losing the economic development race?”

Tags: business, creativity, harrisburg pa, Internet, lancaster pa, york pa

  • luke

    Having practically grown up in York I certainly had to laugh at this finding. I think you are definitely right that the huge manufacturing industry in this area has an effect on the “creativity”. At this time though, I guess it’s just best that there ARE jobs still in the area.

  • John Caddell

    Xander, I didn’t see where Lancaster fit in the rankings–it it part of the H’burg or York groups? Lancaster seems, in my limited experience, to be a pretty creative, cool place.

    regards, John

  • Xander

    @John Yeah, Lancaster must have been right in the middle of the rankings of metropolitan centers that Florida mentioned (i.e. not in the best or worst places). I’d agree with you that Lancaster is definitely seems to be a hub for the “creative class” in Central PA.

    @Luke I’m a Yorker too, I feel ya.

  • Karie

    I love this post.