Friday, March 27, 2009

Biggest US Brain Drains

Which states are really losing talent at an alarming rate? Is it really a problem? Iowa's version:

Most states experience "brain drain," where college-educated students leave the state immediately after finishing their education. For Iowa, however, the situation is more frustrating, as the state has no problems attracting college students, but struggles keeping them after graduation.

Nationally, Iowa is in the top five states in terms of importing college students, and ranks No. 1 in the Midwest for the category, according to statistics included in the Generation Iowa Commission's December 2008 status report. After graduation, however, Iowa's loss of educated people is the nation's fourth worst, behind Florida, Pennsylvania and Arizona.

I included the first paragraph just so you could bear witness to the newspaper brain drain in Iowa. It's an editorial. I read it five times and I still have no idea what his point is.

The explanation for the "exodus" is a lack of "high-paying positions in their field of study after graduation." In Iowa, wages are relatively low even when controlling for cost of living. There appears to be a lot of slack in labor demand. Iowa simply can't absorb all those graduates. The brain drain isn't the problem. It is just a symptom.


The Urbanophile said...

Iowa is a relatively small state. It will never absorb the college grads it produces. As a buddy of mine put it, saying Iowa exports brains is like saying Indiana exports steel. Duh. It's college slot/resident ratio means it is basically a factory for college grads.

Jim Russell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Russell said...

As a buddy of mine put it, saying Iowa exports brains is like saying Indiana exports steel.

That's a good analogy for brain drain. I'm sure there is substantial economic benefit stemming from exporting talent and I think I'm close to figuring out how it would work.