Munich Personal RePEc Archive

Human Capital and Population Growth in Non-Metropolitan U.S. Counties: The Importance of College Student Migration

Winters, John V (2010): Human Capital and Population Growth in Non-Metropolitan U.S. Counties: The Importance of College Student Migration.

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Abstract

Researchers have consistently shown that the stock of human capital in an area, measured as the share of the adult population with a college degree, is a strong predictor of future population growth. This paper examines this relationship for U.S. non-metropolitan counties and posits that student migration for higher education may play an important role. Students often move to an area for college and then stay in the area after their education is complete, causing the area’s educated population to grow. Empirical evidence suggests that student migration explains nearly all of the greater in-migration to highly educated non-metropolitan counties. Implications for non-metropolitan brain drain are discussed.

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