Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Domestic Migration Contrasts: Cleveland Versus Pittsburgh

I spent most of 2011 studying Cleveland MSA migration patterns. I failed to notice an important feature of the region's connectivity profile. This morning, I've been playing with the Urban Land Institute's interactive map detailing metro domestic migration for the period stretch from 2004-2010. You scroll your cursor over any city for a snapshot that includes the trends for inmigration and outmigration, as well as the top sources and destinations for these flows. Cleveland's profile is decidedly Ohio-centric. That's not good news. On the other hand, Pittsburgh enjoys strong connectivity (inbound or outbound) with Washington, DC, NYC, and Philadelphia.

Skewing the data for Cleveland is Akron, a metro you might as well lump in with Cleveland. The problem, as I see it, is the presence of so many sizable cities within Ohio. Nationally, interstate migration isn't as common as intrastate migration. The former should be of more concern than the latter. In parochial fashion, talent is circulated around Ohio. All these cities could use a vitality injection of outsiders.

The balance of net migration is mostly irrelevant. How much inmigration is there and where are they coming from? You can tell a lot about the health of a city by answering those two questions.

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