The Recession's Effects on Migration Patterns Within the U.S.

Many students are now staying at home longer, or returning after graduation. But where are the ones who head out on their own going?

florida5.jpg

Data from Brookings, Graphic by Lois Parshley


Not surprisingly, the economic crisis has halted American mobility. Young adults and college graduates are moving back with their parents to save money after school. But also unsurprisingly, young adults still remain the demographic most likely to migrate. Where are all these college grads heading? Brookings demographer William Frey released a study in January noting how the recession has affected the migration trends of young college graduates.

Start-Up NationUsing data from the 2005-2009 census, Frey notes that before the recession Sunbelt metro areas such as Phoenix and Las Vegas were popular targets; housing was cheap, credit easy, and local economies had ample employment opportunities in real estate and service industries. After the recession, with tighter budgets and fewer job options, young adults are trending towards larger cities and tech centers -- places with larger labor markets and more affordable housing.

But the most unusual of Frey's findings is the news that a significant number of older Rustbelt metros -- like Buffalo and Charlotte, areas that have had rapidly declining populations for the last twenty years -- are now becoming popular migration centers for young graduates.

Frey says:

Certainly the housing crisis and the ongoing economic transformation has played a role, but it also suggests that the longer-run efforts that these communities have been making to transform their economies, as well their more recent strategies to upgrade their quality-of-place and in general improve their ability to compete for young talent may well be paying off. And that is very good news.

Read more about these migration trends here.

Presented by

Lois Farrow Parshley

Lois Parshley is an assistant editor at Foreign Policy magazine.

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. Who cares about youth? James Hamblin turns to his colleague Jeffrey Goldberg for advice.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Never Tell People How Old They Look

Age discrimination affects us all. James Hamblin turns to a colleague for advice.

Video

Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

Video

Pittsburgh: 'Better Than You Thought'

How Steel City became a bikeable, walkable paradise

Video

A Four-Dimensional Tour of Boston

In this groundbreaking video, time moves at multiple speeds within a single frame.

Video

Who Made Pop Music So Repetitive? You Did.

If pop music is too homogenous, that's because listeners want it that way.

More in Technology

Just In