US Cities and the Competition for Talent

The New York Times reports today that as cities compete for college graduates, there are clear winners and losers:

The winners are cities like Bridgeport, Conn., San Francisco and Raleigh, N.C., where more than 40 percent of the population has a college degree. Cities like Youngstown, Ohio, Bakersfield, Calif., and Lakeland, Fla., where less than a fifth of the population has a college degree, are being left behind. The divide shows signs of widening as college graduates gravitate to places with a lot of other college graduates and the atmosphere that creates.

“This is one of the most important developments in recent economic history of this country,” said Enrico Moretti, an economist at the University of California, Berkeley, who just published a book on the topic, “The New Geography of Jobs.”. . .

. . . .“There’s a relentless cycle in which knowledge breeds knowledge, but the flip side is that many places are left out,” said Alan Berube, a senior fellow at Brookings who conducted the analysis.

Dayton lost about 1 percent of its college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds between 2000 and 2009, at a time when that group grew by 13 percent nationally, said Joe Cortright, senior policy adviser for CEOs for Cities, an economic development group. In Columbus, Ohio, about 70 miles away, the same group grew by 25 percent.

In a pattern that is part education, part family background, college graduates tend to have longer life expectancies, higher household incomes, lower divorce rates and fewer single-parent families than those with less education, and cities where they cluster tend to exhibit those patterns more strongly. Montgomery County, where Dayton is located, has a premature death rate that is more than double that of Fairfax County, Va., the highly educated Washington suburb, according to Bridget Catlin, a University of Wisconsin researcher.

You can read the article here.  The Times has also provided some interesting graphics about the issue.  Forbes and Crain’s Cleveland Business also discuss the possible implications of these findings.


Tags: , , , ,