The Creative Class

The Creative Class is a posited socioeconomic class identified by American economist and social scientist Richard Florida, a professor and head of the Martin Prosperity Institute at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. According to Florida, the Creative Class are a key driving force for economic development of post-industrialcities in the United States.

Florida describes the Creative Class as comprising 40 million workers (about 30 percent of the U.S. workforce). He breaks the class into two broad sections, derived fromStandard Occupational Classification System codes:

  • Super-Creative Core: This group comprises about 12 percent of all U.S. jobs. It includes a wide range of occupations (e.g. science, engineering, education, computer programming, research), with arts, design, and media workers forming a small subset. Florida considers those belonging to this group to “fully engage in the creative process” (2002, p. 69). The Super-Creative Core is considered innovative, creating commercial products and consumer goods. The primary job function of its members is to be creative and innovative. “Along with problem solving, their work may entail problem finding” (Florida, 2002, p. 69).
  • Creative Professionals: These professionals are the classic knowledge-based workers and include those working in healthcare, business and finance, the legal sector, and education. They “draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific problems” using higher degrees of education to do so (Florida, 2002).

In addition to these two main groups of creative people, the usually much smaller group of Bohemians is also included in the Creative Class.

In his 2002 study, Florida concluded that the Creative Class would be the leading force of growth in the economy expected to grow by over 10 million jobs in the next decade, which would in 2012 equal almost 40% of the population.

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