Cities and regions across America and the world have made significant efforts to attract and retain young college graduates over the past decade or so. This has been driven by growing awareness that the ability to attract human capital, as well the ability to attract companies plays a key role in economic competitiveness. And since young adults are the most mobile members of the population – people in their mid-20s are three to five times more likely to move than middle aged folks – the ability to attract them early in life can pay big, lasting dividends.
A new study by Brookings demographer William Frey examines trends in the migration decisions of young adults and college grads (as separate groups) over the years 2007 – 2009. His findings are especially interesting and relevant, since they cover the period since the onset of the economic crisis and reset.
The economic crisis has caused a significant decline in migration, with the mobility of Americans hitting record lows. Young adults and college graduates have not been excepted, Frey finds, with a growing number of them staying put or moving back with their parents. That said, the mobility of both college grads and young adults remains considerably higher than for Americans as a whole, according to Frey’s analysis.
But where have young adults and college grads been heading since the economic crisis?
To answer this, Frey charts the migration trends of both young adults and college grads across America’s 52 largest MSA’s, those that are home to more than one million people, using newly released Census data for the 2007-2009 period.