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ERIC Number: ED505610
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2007-Nov
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
Is New England Experiencing a "Brain Drain"? Facts about Demographic Change and Young Professionals. Discussion Paper 07-3
Brome, Heather
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Recent news articles and studies have generated concern among New England policy makers and others that the region's supply of young, highly educated professionals is disappearing. The fear is that comparatively high housing and other costs may be driving away many within this highly mobile group. This paper explores trends in the stocks and flows of young professionals, defined as people 25 to 39 with at least a bachelor's degree. The goal is to help policy makers better understand this important demographic story, giving them the facts about how various factors, including migration, are affecting the region's supply of young, educated labor. The story about young professionals turns out to be much more nuanced than headlines suggest. The region has a strong base of young professionals. As of 2005, New England had the largest population of young professionals of any U.S. region, relative to its population of young people and its total household population. At the same time, New England should not take this strong base of young professionals for granted. While the region's young professional population is holding steady, this cohort is growing in all other regions. Many articles and reports conflate young people and young professionals. While it is true that fewer people between 25 and 39 live in New England today than at any time during the past 15 years, the number of those in the specific category of young professionals has not declined, thanks to steady increases in the share of young people who complete college. Additionally, while this decline in young people is often attributed to out-migration, it is due, at least in part, to a large number of individuals who are aging out of the cohort, rather than leaving the region. Finally, stories about out-migration from New England generally consider only domestic migration. While it is true that New England is losing more young professionals to the rest of the nation than it receives domestically, this domestic outflow of young professionals may be offset by young professionals moving to New England from abroad. Though the net number of international immigrants is not available, New England would have to retain only half of those who arrive from abroad in order to replace the flow of young professionals moving to other parts of the nation. In short, a careful analysis of the data indicates that reports of a major "brain drain" from the region are overstated. However, this does not mean that policy makers should take for granted that the region will continue to retain a solid base of young, educated professionals. (Contains 4 footnotes, 4 figures and 3 tables.)
Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. P.O. Box 55882, Boston, MA 02205. Tel: 617-973-3000; Tel: 617-973-3397; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, MA.