NEW YORK — Scott Anderson grew up outside Boston and eventually moved to San Francisco, but when he started a technology company in 2001, he moved his family to New York.
“The opportunity I perceived in New York was far greater,” Anderson said. “Better talent, fertile business environs, and thriving and vibrant culture to support it all.”
He rented an office in the Woolworth Building and settled in Brooklyn.
“I have a 10-minute commute to school, to drop off the kids, and then another 10 minutes to my offices in Lower Manhattan, or LoMa, as it is being called,” Anderson, 40, said.
Nataly Uackanich works on Wall Street and lives 20 minutes away in Hoboken, N.J.
“We briefly considered the suburbs a few years ago but ruled it out fairly quickly as we felt we would never see our kids,” she said.
After suffering through a loss of jobs and residents in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attack, Lower Manhattan has undergone a renaissance with two new studies showing that downtown has become a magnet as a place to live and work.
Between 2000 and 2010, the U.S. Census Bureau reported last month, the population within a two-mile radius of City Hall ballooned by nearly 40,000.
A separate analysis for the Downtown Alliance, a coalition of property owners, that was released Friday, concluded that neighborhoods in Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey within a 30-minute commute of downtown experienced an increase in the population of young educated people and workers. Lower Manhattan itself grew, in part, as a result of incentives, including subsidies and mass transit improvements, intended to spur a rebound after 9/11.
“Today, Lower Manhattan is surrounded by communities that have an increasing share of the region's high-value workers, while the far-off bedroom communities in Long Island, New York and Connecticut have seen their shares shrink,” the Downtown Alliance analysis found.
“Our study has shown a profound shift in the greater New York region in where the talented labor pool wants to live,” said Elizabeth H. Berger, the president of the Alliance for Downtown New York, which manages the local business improvement district.
“Why aren't people moving to the suburbs?” she added. “One thing we hear anecdotally is they like the shorter commute. We wanted to validate all the anecdotal evidence.”
The analysis of census data by the Downtown Alliance found 717,000 college-educated people between 18 and 44 living within a 30-minute commute of Lower Manhattan in 2010, which was 172,000 more than a decade earlier.
“If these growth trends continue,” the analysis said, “it will not be long before the young, educated population of areas surrounding Lower Manhattan outranks that found in all of Long Island; Hudson Valley, N.Y.; and Southern Connecticut combined.”
Already, the number of creative and professional workers (in fields like advertising, media, arts, finance, insurance and real estate) in neighborhoods 30 minutes or less from downtown outnumber those workers who live in Long Island, Hudson Valley and Southern Connecticut, the analysis concluded.
The biggest gains among those workers were in Newport-Grove Street-Jersey City Heights on the New Jersey waterfront and Williamsburg-Greenpoint in Brooklyn, each of which recorded an increase of more than 10,000 residents.
Ryan Farnsworth, 31, lives in TriBeCa and walks to work at Frank Crystal & Co., an insurance brokerage, where he is an associate director. He and his wife moved to Lower Manhattan from Utah in 2005 and returned downtown after a stint in California.
“Once we moved back to New York a year later with a 9-month-old baby,” he said, “we did not consider the suburbs at all because we knew what downtown had to offer for young families and young professionals.”
Kristi Nowicik, an account executive at Aon Global Americas, moved to Hoboken a decade ago because of its proximity to work.
“I've gone through several cycles of life in Hoboken,” she said. “Single, married and now we have two children. At each change in my life, my husband and I evaluated a move to the ‘burbs, but never wanted to do it.”
Adam Mietus, a risk officer at Morgan Stanley, lives in Hoboken, too, where he moved in 2007 from Norwalk, Conn.
“The move changed my commute from two hours to about 30 minutes,” he recalled. “My wife felt like a single parent before the move, and I was barely seeing my 3-year-old daughter during the week.”
For Anderson, who has the tech company, living in Brooklyn not only means a relatively easy commute to downtown but also a far different childhood for his children than what he experienced growing up in the suburbs of Boston.
“The social education they receive by living in diverse neighborhoods is much different than the suburbs where,” he said, “historically, things can be a bit more segregated and you typically get in a car to get from one place to another without social interaction.”