Richard Florida teaches management and economic development at the University of Toronto and New York University. He also taught at Carnegie Mellon for over a decade. His research focuses on prosperity, especially as it relates to the kinds of work people do and the kinds of places they live. He has written several books about the new “creative class” that powers the modern economy:
- The Rise of the Creative Class (2002)
- Cities and the Creative Class (2005)
- The Flight of the Creative Class (2005)
- Who’s Your City? (2008)
- The New Urban Crisis (2017)
So, what is the creative class and why is it important?
The service class, however, has grown substantially over the past four decades. These folks generally have less skill and education than creative class workers. They also generally make less money, are less geographically concentrated, and are less mobile. Although the number of people working in the service industry is on an upward trajectory, it is growing more slowly than the third class of creative workers.
Somewhere around 35%-40% of workers are in the creative class. Not only is the creative class growing faster than the service and working classes, it is also the most highly paid, most satisfied class of workers. Florida suggests that we should actively encourage and hope that more and more people can enter the creative class because it is superior to the others, not just economically, but in terms of quality of life and happiness.