Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Michigan's population of college graduates increasing, not declining

So, Dick was wrong about this, too? Does he tell the truth about anything?

Despite real concerns that people, especially young people, are leaving Michigan, some demographers say the notion of a brain drain -- a debilitating loss of educated people -- has been oversold to an anxious public hammered by bad news about the automotive industry.

"It's certainly overblown, and to some extent has characteristics of a myth," said Jim Rogers, manager of data for the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, a regional planning agency.

In fact, the state's population is growing, and its population of college graduates also is on the rise.


Perhaps even more important for the state's economic future, Michigan's population of college graduates -- the people who put the "brain" in brain drain -- has been increasing, not declining. Between 2001 and 2004, the Census Bureau's American Community Survey data showed a net increase of 35,700 people with a bachelor's degree or higher choosing to migrate to Michigan.

"Which is news to a lot of people," Rogers said. "That's not the conventional wisdom because this loss of college graduates through migration domestically has been so hyped."

Foreign immigration plays a big part. In terms of state-to-state migration, more college grads leave Michigan than arrive. But the rising number of educated immigrants -- mainly men with mechanical engineering degrees from Canada, India and China -- tips the balance into the positive column.

While some kids may leave, many more will come to stay.

Time for the Democrats to stop hyping Dick's theme and start pointing out that we are attracting kids to this state in greater numbers.