From the NY Times:
The college graduates who fill white-collar jobs in the San Francisco area began to leave in growing numbers about a decade ago. More and more have moved to other parts of the country — an accelerating outflow of educated workers that, in a poorer part of America, might be thought of as brain drain.
A chart showing net domestic migration of college-educated working-age adults in the Washington, D.C., metro area, going from a peak annual gain of over 20,000 people in 2011 to a loss of roughly 15,000 people in 2021.
This pattern, visible in an Upshot analysis of census microdata, is startling in retrospect. Major coastal metros have been hubs of the kind of educated workers coveted most by high-powered employers and economic development officials. Economists have lamented the growing coastal concentration of their wealth. A politics of resentment in America has fed on it, too. These urban centers have become a class of their own — “superstar cities” — with outsize impact on the American economy fueled by the clustering of workers with degrees.
But it appears in domestic migration data that, years after lower-wage residents have been priced out of expensive coastal metros, higher-paid workers are now turning away from them, too.
Working-age Americans with a degree are still flowing into these regions from other parts of the country, often in large numbers. But as the pool leaving grows faster, that educational advantage is eroding. Boston’s pull with college graduates has weakened. Seattle’s edge vanished during the pandemic. And the analysis shows San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles and Washington all crossing a significant threshold: More college-educated workers left than moved in.
For most of this century, large metros with a million residents or more have received all of the net gains from college-educated workers migrating around the country, at the expense of smaller places. But among those large urban areas, the dozen metros with the highest living costs — nearly all of them coastal — have had a uniquely bifurcated migration pattern: As they saw net gains from college graduates, they lost large numbers of workers without degrees.
At least, that was true until recently. Now, large, expensive metros are shedding both kinds of workers.