* One Illinois…
Reports of “brain drain” in Illinois are greatly exaggerated, according to a new congressional study.
The study, “Losing Our Minds: Brain Drain Across the United States,” from the Joint Economic Committee in Congress, finds that Illinois is outpacing other “Rust Belt” states in attracting top student talent, especially in the 2000s and over the last decade. […]
The study arrives at a “gross brain drain” by comparing the percentage of thirtysomethings who had been in the top third of students and left the state to those who remained in state. For 2017, all states saw more who left than stayed — reflecting a certain restlessness in the population — but the 8.3 difference in percentages in Illinois compared favorably to New York (7.9) and Texas (8.8), while lagging behind California (2.3), which ranked second in lowest “brain drain” behind only Wyoming (a 0.1 percent difference). Neighboring and similar states Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, and Pennsylania all registered differences of more than 15 percent by comparison.
As the study put it: “Americans are a highly mobile people. Roughly a quarter to a third of adults in the United States have moved within the previous five years. While moving rates have declined in the U.S. over the last few decades, they are still higher than in nearly every other country in the world.”
The study also determined a “net’“ figure comparing the percentage of top students who left the state by their 30s against those in their 30s who moved into the state, and in 2017 Illinois proved to be one of the top states, with a 10.4 percentage point difference favoring “entrants.” That trailed only California, Massachusetts, and New York. Meanwhile, every Midwestern state but Minneapolis saw declines, with many of those states suffering double-digit losses by percentage points.
* From the study, here are the five states with the worst “Relative Net Brain Drain” and the best (defined as “the difference between the share of leavers who are highly educated and the share of entrants who are highly educated”)…
West Virginia 19.8
North Dakota 15.1
New York -21.8
* We are the only “Rust Belt” state (aside from Minnesota) that’s attracting brainy talent…
Our research finds that states that are doing the best—low gross brain drain and net brain gain—generally cluster along the Boston-Washington corridor and on the West Coast: Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, California, Oregon, and Washington. Other brain gain states are regional hubs—Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, and Illinois. … For the most part, these states are home to what Richard Florida would describe as “winner-take-all cities.” […]
Most Rust Belt states—Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Missouri—have done poorly on these measures in both 1970 and 2017. Perhaps unsurprisingly, states that defy these regional trends (for example, Illinois in the Rust Belt, and Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia in the Southeast) seem to be attracting highly-educated out-of-staters to their dynamic metropolitan hubs.
Chicago is key.
* Illinois is the most popular destination for “Highly-Educated Leavers” in Iowa, Missouri, Michigan and Indiana. We’re the second most popular destination for brainiacs in Wisconsin and fourth most popular for smart Ohio residents. Illinois is what’s known as a popular “regional hub”…
Overall, dynamic states along the Boston-Washington corridor (Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, and Maryland), on the West Coast (California, Oregon, Washington), and in other parts of the country (Illinois, Texas, Colorado, Arizona, and Hawaii) are the best at retaining and attracting highly-educated adults.