In the context of today's tight labor markets, as well as projections of continued demand for workers with high skills, various states are considering how to retain and attract college graduates. Such efforts involve identifying an area's relative strengths and weaknesses and taking actions as needed, either to capitalize on the strengths or to mitigate the weaknesses. Perhaps surprisingly, however, little systematic evidence exists on the factors influencing location decisions of recent graduates. This study is a first step in providing such evidence, making use of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth from 1979 to 1996 to examine cross-state migration in the five-year period after completion of schooling.
The author first presents information on geographic mobility of young adults by educational attainment and region of the country. Next, she briefly outlines previous explanations for migration in the general population and investigates their applicability both to young college graduates andfor comparisonto other young adults without four years of college. Her study shows that the person's past history of migration is very important. In addition, the majority of moves are made to states with stronger economies or more attractive characteristics, as measured by such factors as higher employment growth, lower unemployment, higher pay, lower housing costs, or better amenities.