Internal Migration.

If you go, well, Donald Trump scored big in the areas hollowed out by Chinese competition against “old industry,” Hillary Clinton did OKish in the areas marked by “new industry,” then the problem facing Democrats is how to expand the ranks of those employed in those new industries.

In theory, the internet and high-tech industry should allow people to work from anywhere in the country.  Omaha, Nebraska should be as good—if not a better— place to live as Seattle, Washington.  This should reduce the need to migrate.  In fact, it hasn’t worked out that way.

In zee old days, earlier old industries got replaced by new industries.  Moreover, American workers moved in pursuit of job opportunities.  Before the Second World War, about 15 percent of Americans lived outside the census division in which they were born.  By 1970, 25 percent of Americans lived outside the census division in which they were born.  Thus, under-paid Southern farmworkers could get better-paying assembly-line jobs.  All you had to do was move from Fordyce, Arkansas to River Rouge, Michigan.  So, lots of geographic displacement.[1]  Then this trend began to slow down during the 1980s.

Instead, for decades now, workers with more education have been streaming toward the great cities on the coasts, while less educated workers have been left behind.  During the first decade of the 21st century (2001-2010), the migration rates for the college-educated were about 2 percent per year; the migration rates for those with only a high-school education were 1.2 percent per year; and the migration rates for those with less than a high-school diploma were 1 percent per year.

Regionally, the “Rust Belt” states (Iowa, Michigan, Ohio) and the Plains States have shown the greatest out-migration of college-educated people.  In contrast, California, Maryland, Texas, South Carolina, New York, and Massachusetts have witnessed the greatest in-migration.  So, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Baltimore, Washington, New York City, and Boston offer a certain cachet.  One puzzle here is that Michigan and Michigan State, Ohio State, and Iowa are all major research universities surrounded by “blue townships.”  The same goes for Stanford and Washington, but less so for Oregon. Brigham Young, .

Why do younger, better-educated people move?  One Michigan State economist suggested that “lots of talented young people all over the country are eager to see new sights…”  So, give them interesting cities, with lots of youth culture.  Whatever “youth culture” means.  It appears to mean talking to non-company people over coffee; lots of chances to co=operate.

[1] See: “The Grapes of Wrath” (dir. John Ford, 1940).

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