Population growth normally happens in two different ways. The first is due to natural processes where the number of births exceeds the number of deaths in a given area. The second is due to migration with individuals moving into (immigration) and out of (emigration) the area. For years, the United States and the Northeast Ohio region have faced what has been termed as zero population growth or a relative equity between the number of births and the number of deaths.
However, as the dominant middle-aged population in Northeast Ohio reach their senior years, the pendulum may actually shift to more pronounced negative natural population growth where the number of deaths significantly outnumber births.
In this case, population growth in the region will be even more dependent on immigration.
Attracting more immigrants to the Tech Belt is absolutely vital to the region's economic prosperity. Increasing domestic in-migration or plugging the brain drain will not halt the population decline. Cleveburgh needs to aggressively court foreign-born talent. Despite growing unemployment, worker shortages have not abated. Countries such as Australia and Canada are forging ahead with plans to attract high-skilled immigrants.
The Talent Blueprint Project deserves the full support of anyone concerned with the economic development of Northeast Ohio. As Richard Herman's efforts and this white paper from the University of Akron make clear, the benefits of increasing immigration are undeniable. Unfortunately, Ohio has it backwards. The focus is on decreasing out-migration and cultivating local talent. We've seen these parochial initiatives before and they don't work. Voters and politicians seem to have short memories. These desperate times call for new measures and the Talent Blueprint Project is worthy of your consideration.