People With College Educations Moving to Miami, While People Without Moving Out

Is Miami's "brain drain" finally over? In a new analysis, the Atlantic CityLab's Richard Florida shows that between 2011 and 2012 the Miami metro area had a net increase in residents with some college education, a college degree, or a post-grad degree. Meanwhile, there was a net decrease of residents with just a high school diploma or less. It was the only major metro area in the analysis that followed such a pattern.

Of course, that might seem like a good thing but it doesn't tell the full story.

Here's the chart showing net domestic migration from CityLab:

However, that pattern may have just as much to do with rising property prices as it does the local job market.

"San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Miami all saw their ranks of educated residents grow and less educated residents shrink," writes Florida. "Lower-paid workers are being priced out, and the jobs that can attract new residents are reserved for the most educated. Boston is one of the few places attracting and retaining more unskilled workers than skilled ones, a perhaps unexpected trend, given its reputation as a center of education and knowledge work."

There's also a few factors to keep in mind:

  • The data does not count people moving to cities from other countries, and that's always an important factor in Miami.
  • The data says nothing of the age or working status of those who are moving.
  • This isn't a measure of people who graduate from local universities and then stay in the Miami area.
  • Nor is it a measure of local high school grads who go elsewhere for college and never return.
  • Keep in mind also that the net migration taken into account here was only 4,147, and that's spread out in both Miami-Dade and Broward counties.

Interestingly, smaller metro areas near Miami, like Fort Myers and Daytona Beach, are attracting less educated new migrants in great numbers.

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Kyle Munzenrieder