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Data show brain gain for central Ohio

TNS Regional News • Feb 17, 2014 at 7:07 PM

Move to central Ohio, where we like brains. Well-educated adult brains, that is.

Thousands of people who had at least some college experience moved into central Ohio from other Ohio counties, other states and other countries between 2007 and 2011.

Thousands of college-educated people moved out during that time, too. But the seven-county area ended up with many more educated residents than it lost, netting an estimated 12,630 adults who had attended college, according to U.S. census surveys.

Even a sizable margin of error couldn’t erase that gain.

“At least we’re not seeing a brain drain, and we’re attracting people with college degrees to replace the ones that are getting drawn away to other places, which really is part of the equation, too. It’s not just keeping the ones we’ve got but bringing more in,” said Bill LaFayette, the owner of Regionomics, a Columbus economic-analysis and consulting company. “And given the overall white-collar nature of the economy, it’s not terribly surprising.

The census data detail the county-to-county movement of some 17 million Americans over that five-year period and their education level. Roughly 1.15 million of those movers came to or from Ohio.

Here’s what else the data say about our region:

• More than 70,000 people moved to or from central Ohio between 2007 and 2011. Among movers who left Ohio, the largest number went to Florida, followed by Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Texas, Michigan and North Carolina. Those moving to Ohio came in the largest numbers from those states, too.

• Of the estimated 40,000 adults 25 or older who moved in and whose education level is known, about 65 percent — about 26,000 people — had gone to college, and about 15 percent — 6,000 — of all those who moved here had graduate degrees.

• About 20,000 adults whose education is known left central Ohio. Of those, about 66 percent — about 13,000 people — had been to college, and 17 percent — 3,400 — had graduate degrees.

• Franklin and Delaware counties continue to trade residents. In other words, lots of people move between those two counties, and they swapped more residents than any other two counties in the state.

Franklin County has a net loss to Delaware County, however. Between 2007 and 2011, an estimated 6,300 people moved from Franklin to Delaware, and about 3,600 moved from Delaware to Franklin.

Likewise, thousands of people moved among the Ohio counties near the state’s other big cities, including Butler and Hamilton, where Cincinnati is, and Lorain and Cuyahoga, where Cleveland is.

“What we’re seeing is this huge migration of people into our community that are educated, they’r e technical employees. So we’re having to quite honestly respond to that in terms of trying to shift our economic-development focus to find jobs they need so they don’t have to commute every day,” said Sean Hughes, the economic-development coordinator for the city of Delaware.

Central Ohio is well-positioned to be attractive to more-educated workers even as the current labor force ages and leaves the labor pool, Hughes said, “or else we wouldn’t be seeing this huge migration of this talented, educated workforce coming up this way.”

The census estimates show that Cuyahoga County, where Cleveland is located, gained about 3,450 more highly educated people than it lost. An estimated 25,450 adults with at least some college experience came to the county while about 22,000 left.


By Jennifer Smith Richards - The Columbus Dispatch, Ohio (MCT)

©2014 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

Visit The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio) at www.dispatch.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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