Sunday, April 24, 2011

You Go Where You Know

People should move from states with high unemployment to ones with relatively low unemployment. One major exception to that rule is amenities migration. Why one couple moved from hip Western Washington to struggling Colorado:

"We moved here mostly because we hated the weather up there. It rains all the time," said Christina, 21, who will begin studying equine sciences and zoology as a freshman at Colorado State University in August. "Colorado looked beautiful. I applied to CSU and got in."

Trading bad weather for good is common enough. Economist Edward Glaeser hones in on temperature as an important predictor of talent migration. But what if we control for climate?

After losing his job as an engineer for a commercial contractor in Texas last fall, Armstrong began looking for work in Colorado, where he had gone to college. ...

... Then, in mid-2008, she rented a U-Haul and drove to Colorado, where she has friends. The mountain beauty, clean air and relative lack of people were deciding factors.

Again, Colorado's amenities are front and center. They are a big draw. How else do you explain leaving job boom Texas for employment starved Colorado?

Familiarity with a place trumps a comparison of unemployment rates. It's an irrational choice. Unfamiliarity with a place is like a death sentence, even for regions doing well. That's the Rust Belt curse. Sun Belt natives aren't going to move to Pittsburgh regardless of the job creation numbers.

1 comment:

ArroyoLover said...

The future of Michigan-Ohio-Pennsylvania population growth will be aging baby boomers returning home to a simpler lower cost lifestyle that will not leave them in elder poverty. These 'gray' champions will demand the type of amenities the young people you mention in your article want. The salvation of the Midwest is not just in making rust bowl 'chic'; it is in recruiting experienced, well-educated older professionals to cash out, return home, re-establish roots, start new businesses/non-profits with their know-how, and let them bring their urbane lifestyle demands (and connections) with them. See Marc Freedman's new book, The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife.