Sunday, June 14, 2009

Domestic Migration Tales: NYC

Urban domestic migration profiles tend to harbor a few surprises and challenge popular perceptions. In his last Diaspora Report, Bill Toland dropped a data bomb on the chronic Pittsburgh worry worts:

From 2000 to 2006, we sent 2,200 Pittsburghers to the Los Angeles metro area, and they sent us 2,300 Californians in return, according to IRS data. That's partly because we're running out of people to send, but maybe there's more to it than that.

Now, I don't expect Pittsburgh to unseat Nashville as the New L.A. any time soon. But I'm sure more than a few readers took some pride in this tidbit of migration trivia. Just considering flows of people out of regions, Pittsburgh tends to be far down the list. And given the large population of L.A., the rate of residents heading to Pittsburgh is much lower than the one going in the opposite direction. Depending on your agenda, you can choose your own data adventure.

Cartographers at the New York Times provide a wealth of maps for bloggers like me hungry for post fodder. You can check out for yourself the domestic migration profile of New York City. NYC is a net exporter of talent. The Rust Belt is the glaring exception to this rule. I'm curious as to why Washtenaw County, MI is featured. I'd hypothesize that this area (includes Ann Arbor, home to the University of Michigan) has an unusually high out-migration rate to NYC. What this tells me is that the Wolverine Alumni Network is quite valuable. This also speaks to the Pittsburgh-L.A. connection. The talent churn between these two cities is vital to the economic health of SW Pennsylvania.

1 comment:

Stephen Gross said...

Talent churn is vital. People move around. They change jobs, homes, communities. They share ideas. They generate new ideas. They innovate. This is the strength of America, not its weakness.

A theory: If the public discussion of out-migration is hindered by the lack of visibility of in-migration, how can we increase this visibility? How can we do a better job of showcasing incoming talent?

(And I'll add: This "showcasing" should NOT take the form of a profile of a NYC-relo'ed yuppie couple gushing about their new RustBelt-downtown condo in a booster magazine, filled with a lush slideshow of mid-century modern furniture, trendy dog breeds, cherubic yuppie kids, and downtown skyline views. It just makes me jealous).

--Steve (