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August 1, 2007

Upstate New York suffers from lack of in-migration, study finds

Upstate New York is not attracting enough college-educated citizens to replace those moving to other states, according to a new analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

The analysis, which studied Census data showing the movement of college-education Americans between states from 1995 to 2000, found that Upstate's population problem is largely not caused by out-migration.

"Compared with U.S. states, Upstate New York's net outflow of college-educated workers reflects a lack of a 'brain gain' rather than an unusually large 'brain drain,'" the analysis said. "College-educated adults are not moving to the region fast enough to stem natural out-migration flows."

And while Upstate New York's out-migration rate of 13.4 percent was slightly lower than the national average of 13.5 percent, the region experienced a net loss of 4.1 percent of its college-educated workforce -- "the second worst in the nation if the region were a state."

States with the highest net migration rate were mainly in the South and West, the study noted.

"Research suggests that job opportunities and local amenities influence choice of location," the analysis said. "While regional amenities such as a favorable climate, cultural offerings, and family and social networks are attractive forces, they may not be enough to attract college-educated workers if good job opportunities do not exist," the analysis said.

A recent survey administered by The Business Council also found college graduates more concerned about job prospects than cultural opportunities.

In the Council's spring survey of 2007 graduates of New York colleges and universities, more than 44 percent of the 1000-plus respondents said available career opportunities was the most important factor in their decision of where to live after graduation. Nineteen percent said lifestyle was the most important factor.

The results of that survey are available at The results of that survey.

The federal reserve study.