Homegrown or Imported: Sources of the College-Educated Population of States

Type Working Paper
Title Homegrown or Imported: Sources of the College-Educated Population of States
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
URL http://www.psc.isr.umich.edu/pubs/pdf/rr15-849.pdf
The recognition of the importance of the level of human capital to the successful functioning of
societies has led to an increased focus among states and communities on the skill and
educational composition of their populations and to consideration of steps that might enhance
the proportion of more highly trained people. Often, however, policies and programs are
developed without due recognition of the population dynamics which account for the current
levels or of the multiple pathways involved.
In this analysis, we decompose the college educated proportion of the population of each state
to reveal the relative role of production and retention of the native born, in-migration from other
states, and immigrants from abroad. States differ quite widely on these components and a state’s
recognition of its relative position can be helpful in developing the most effective policies. The
resultsfor each state are derived from an analysis of lifetime migration embedded in the
AmericanCommunity Survey (ACS) data for 2006-2010.
The number of migrants is, along with fertility and mortality rates, a determinant of the size and
distribution of the population. The characteristics of the migrants are important factors in the
social and economic development of the sending and receiving areas. Insofar as fertility and
mortality levels do not vary widely across the areas of interest, migration levels will be the key
factor in the distribution of the population and the changes that occur over a given period.

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