Saturday, March 26, 2016

Brain Drain--Indiana is at the Bottom of the Barrel

According to recently released 2014 Census data, Indiana ranks at the very bottom of states, 50th, for "Brain Drain," a not-so-fancy social science term to describe the migration of people with advanced degrees out of one place and into another. Brain drain is typically related to that country or state having lower wages or professional employment opportunities and poorer quality of life. There are various ways of measuring brain drain, but the most typical measures involve simply counting the number of people with college degrees who are leaving your area compared to those who are moving into your area. For example, in the table to the right, the column "BA+Grad" is a subtraction of the number of people with bachelor's and graduate degrees who have moved into your state minus the number who have moved out of your state. A positive value means more college-educated people have moved into your state than have left, while a negative member means that state had a net loss of college educated people.

In the table I have included three additional columns. The 4th column, "BA+Grad," is the simple calculation described above. The 5th column, "No HS/Only HS," is a similar calculation, but measures the migration of people with only a high school education (no college at all), or with less than a high school education. A positive value means that poorly educated people are moving into that state at higher rates than they are moving out, while a negative measure means that state has a net loss of residents, but they are very poorly educated residents. The 3rd column, "Coll/ NoColl Migration, simply describes the sign of these two types of migration: +/+ indicates that both the highly educated and poorly educated are moving into your state, while -/- indicates that both groups are moving out of your state.

The first column, "Brain Drain Rank," ranks this migration process based on two measures. The primary ranking is the positive vs negative flows. If more educated people are moving into a state than leaving it (+/+), it has a higher rank. If more poorly educated people are moving into a state than leaving (-/-), it has a lower rank. The lowest rank in this list is for states who not only have negative migration of highly educated people, but have positive migration of poorly educated people--meaning that people with college degrees are leaving the state, while people with only a high school degree or less are coming into that state. Thus, a state could have a net gain of people moving into a state, but that gain comes entirely from poorly educated people.

Data indicates that there is a strong relationship between education and employment. People with college degrees have a far higher likelihood of finding jobs compared to people who only have a high school diploma or less. Further, those jobs tend to pay far more. Thus, an net in-flow into a state of people with only a high-school degree (or less), means that state could face greater demands on its social services budgets due to higher rates of unemployment of its residents, while a net out-flow of people with college degrees can mean there are fewer resources to increase the tax base and social service providers. On the one hand, it is of course problematic for a state to have net losses of a population--"dying states," as such--for example, Alabama, Kansas and Kentucky, who lost both the highly educated and the poorly educated in 2014. On the other hand, it becomes an even greater problem for a state's economy when the highly educated are leaving, but the poorly educated are moving in.

Indiana ranks the worst in this combined measure--states who lost people with college degrees, but gained people with only a high school education or less. Indiana had the highest rate of loss of college graduates. Six states had higher rates of loss of college graduates--New Jersey, Illinois, South Dakota, New York, Wyoming, and Alaska. However, these states lost both the highly educated and the poorly educated, with Alaska hemorrhaging both types of people. Fourteen states (including Indiana) had a pattern similar to Indiana, where they lost the college-educated, but gained the poorly educated--Indiana had the highest rates of loss of college graduates, and the 3rd highest rate of increase in poorly educated migrants, after North Dakota and Wisconsin.

No comments:

Post a Comment