Sunday, June 29, 2008

Toledo Diaspora

Many thanks to Chris Briem for bringing to my attention this Toledo Blade article profiling that city's out-migration. Instead of the typical US Census data, numbers from IRS tax returns are used. Mr. Briem applied a similar analysis to Pittsburgh migration. For comparison here are the top 10 destinations listed for Pittsburgh out-migrants:

  1. Washington, DC
  2. Philadelphia, PA
  3. Atlanta, GA
  4. Cleveland, OH
  5. Columbus, OH
  6. Baltimore, MD
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Tampa-St. Petersburg, FL
  9. New York, NY
  10. Johnstown, PA

The Blade article lists the top out of state destinations for Toledo out-migrants in this graphic:

  1. Phoenix, AZ
  2. Fort Myers, Cape Coral, FL
  3. Las Vegas, NV
  4. Charlotte, NC
  5. Fort Worth, TX
  6. St. Petersburg, FL
  7. Chicago, IL
  8. Tampa, FL
  9. Tuscon, AZ
  10. Los Angeles, CA

If I remove the two in-state cities from Mr. Briem's list, then I can add Charlotte, NC (#11) and Boston, MA (#12) as hot Pittsburgher destinations. Still, the out-migration profiles of the two cities are remarkably different. People from Pittsburgh are willing to go to non-Sun Belt cities. On the other hand, the Sun Belt is the place to be for Toledoans. Without properly analyzing the data, Toledo relocations seem to be much longer on average.

I think the following passage from the article is interesting:

[Toledo native Marci Williams] said job recruiters in the Southwest will often look in the Midwest for applicants with a strong work ethic.

“I was also told on my interview that employers here like to see the strong Midwestern ethical standard,” Mrs. Williams said. “The work force from the Midwest generally has been raised in middle-class, hard-working, blue-collar families, and they’ve had to earn their way. They understand what it takes to work, and their standards and ethics seem to be higher than some of the local candidates.”

That’s true for fields other than health care. In 2006, recruiters for the Phoenix Police Department came to the University of Toledo to look for young cadets to replace retiring veterans.

Younger people — with fewer regional ties and looking for new jobs — are more likely to move, according to experts.

Migration often requires some help. That young Toledo adults are heading to Phoenix, over other sunny destinations, is no accident. Again just eying the data, the effects of network migration would appear to be in play. The economic rationale is obvious enough, but there is a wealth of choices within the geography of better opportunities.

I can't shake how many Pittsburghers leave for Cleveland and Columbus. There is a strong intraregional human capital exchange. Beyond the moves within Ohio, Toledo isn't part of this economy. Score another one for Cleveburgh+.

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