Study finds Alabama among states experiencing significant outflow of educated residents

A recent study has found Alabama to be among the states suffering most from brain drain, which is defined in a 2019 Congressional report as “someone in the top third of the national education distribution in a state other than his/her birth state between the ages of 31 and 40.”

Simply put, more well-educated residents are leaving the Yellowhammer State than moving in — 45% more in 2023, to be exact.

This ranks Alabama 10th among states experiencing the largest losses of educated residents.

The report, compiled by Hire A Helper, tracks moving data across the U.S. and assists with relocations. The study’s authors found that the Southeast and parts of the Midwest experienced the most significant losses among college-educated residents.

The data was collected from the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey and Annual Social and Economic Supplements. For this study, “college educated” was defined as someone who has at minimum completed an undergraduate/Bachelor’s degree.

The following are the 10 states where brain drain was most severe in 2023:

    • South Dakota — 72% net loss of college educated residents
    • Mississippi — 67% net loss
    • Oklahoma — 62% net loss
    • Louisiana — 62% net loss
    • Missouri — 62% net loss
    • New York — 56% net loss
    • Arkansas — 48% net loss
    • Alaska — 48% net loss
    • Iowa — 46% net loss
    • Alabama — 45% net loss

Washington saw the highest increase in the number of college-educated residents in 2023, with a net increase of 169%. Take a look at the top 10 states that experienced the most significant growth in college-educated residents:

    • Washington — 169% net gain
    • South Carolina — 137% net gain
    • Nevada — 111% net gain
    • Wisconsin — 110% net gain
    • Michigan — 75% net gain
    • Wyoming — 59% net gain
    • Maryland — 58% net gain
    • Pennsylvania — 51% net gain
    • Colorado — 50% net gain
    • Rhode Island — 45% net gain
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In the study, it was found that 73% of college-educated Americans who relocated in 2023 did so primarily due to job-related reasons, such as finding a new job or being transferred to a different location. Additionally, some individuals mentioned personal factors like relationships and the desire to become homeowners as contributing factors for their decision to move. This data was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau.

According to the data, residents with a college education were found to be 30% less likely to report moving for the purpose of finding more affordable housing, as compared to those without a college education.

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