Special Report

The Night Economies of America's Biggest Cities

Evan Comen

Known as The City That Never Sleeps, it is not surprising that New York has recently appointed a night mayor — a public servant employed to govern the city’s nighttime activities. But the nation’s largest city is not the only place with a nightlife. As the sun sets, night brings to all urban centers an entirely different population with a very different set of characteristics.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of young, college graduates moving to the downtowns of major cities. While the precise reasons for the shift from suburbanization to urbanization among young professionals are up for debate, one pull factor is the large number of entertainment and nightlife amenities concentrated in city centers.

A growing number of academics and urban planners have turned their attention in the last few decades towards the entertainment and nightlife ecosystem, or night economy. Although definitions of the nighttime economy vary and a lack of data makes the sector difficult to study on a large scale, most researchers agree that the night economy runs from around 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. and encompasses those who enjoy the night, and work during the night.

To highlight the cities investing in nocturnal governance, 24/7 Wall St. considered several factors related to the night economies of the 15 largest U.S. metropolitan areas using data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and other sources.

Click to see the night economies of America’s biggest cities.
Click here to see our detailed findings and methodology.