Monday, April 13, 2009

Brain Gain Pittsburgh

Update: The official release of the Michigan Future report is today. Here is some of the initial press reaction.

Michigan Future has updated its report about the state's "transition to a knowledge-based economy." Of interest to the Burgh Diaspora is the use of Pittsburgh as a key regional benchmark:

Chicago, along with Minneapolis, are the most prosperous regions among the Great Lakes states. We have added Pittsburgh as a comparison. Many find it a possible model because it is both a cold weather region as well as having gone through a restructuring (with the collapse of the steel industry) similar to what we are going through with the auto industry. ...

... Except for Hartford and New Orleans, the high prosperity metropolitan areas are places that are substantially adding to already large concentrations of college educated adults. And in most cases college educated movers account for more than half of their net in migration. In metro New York, Washington, Boston as well as Chicago and Pittsburgh – all of which did well in attracting college educated adults – there was a net out migration of non college educated adults.

Pittsburgh is a city with a growing population of brains. Not only is the population of the college educated going up, but it is concentrating in the regional core. Michigan Future corroborates the findings in the Brookings study of domestic talent migration. Pittsburgh is experiencing the opposite of brain drain and is looking demographically more and more like other hotbeds of innovation.

What's lacking is immigration (hat tip Richard Herman), but even those numbers are a bit deceiving.

The above graph (click on it to see the entire jpg) is from the Chicago Fed. The raw numbers won't impress anyone, but Pittsburgh does a good job of attracting well-educated immigrants. That's not to say the region couldn't do better.

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