The geography of jobs
June 7, 2012 Leave a comment
When it comes to being an educated part of the U.S., the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, as nicely explained by a recent NYT article:
Dayton sits on one side of a growing divide among American cities, in which a small number of metro areas vacuum up a large number of college graduates, and the rest struggle to keep those they have.
The winners are metro areas like Raleigh, N.C., San Francisco and Stamford, Conn., where more than 40 percent of the adult residents have college degrees. The Raleigh area has a booming technology sector and several major research universities; San Francisco has been a magnet for college graduates for decades; and metropolitan Stamford draws highly educated workers from white-collar professions in New York like finance.
The article mostly looks at what Dayton, OH is doing to counter-act this trend. It’s not easy. I recently listened to an interview with Enrico Moretti, author of The New Geography of Jobs and was struck by this exchange:
Moretti: That’s right. There are enormous differences in the propensity to relocate for American workers. Almost half of their college graduates move out of their state by age 30 [emphasis mine], and a lot of it has to do with they’re seeking better economic conditions in different cities.
Ryssdal: Say that again: Half of college graduates move out of their birth state by the time they’re 30.
Moretti: Almost half of college graduates move out of their birth state by the age of 30.
Ryssdal: That’s kind of amazing, actually, isn’t it?
Moretti: It is. And it’s even more amazing when you compare it with the mobility rate of high school graduates or high school dropouts.
Ryssdal: They stay, right? They probably stay in their hometown?
Moretti: They do. The lower mobility of less-educated Americans has large economic costs. If the less-educated people were more able and more willing to move to cities with better job opportunities, the gap between college graduates and high school graduates would shrink.
Hey, look, I’ve moved out of my home state and I’m typing this in Raleigh, NC. It’s also quite notable that being in a college graduate in an area with a lot of other college graduates leads to better economic opportunity. Check out this chart from a nice Forbes.com piece on the book:
You can see why a NC college grade would want to settle in Raleigh rather than Rocky Mount. And, of course the more that happens, the more the advantages of Raleigh grow. Works for me. Except for the traffic.