Sunday, August 07, 2011

Rust belt migration in the USA

I recently came across a site titled Burgh Diaspora authored by Jim Russell, a geographer who focuses on human capital issues particularly related to the city of Pittsburgh, but covers the wider area commonly referred to as the "Midwest" and "the Rust Belt"(referring to abandoned factories).

Russell's point of view is unconventional and he challenges the conventional wisdom regarding the relative prospects of metro areas throughout the US. The site asks the question:

Since education makes a person more likely to leave your region, how do you justify your investment in human capital?

This seems based on the idea that graduates of local universities leave due to the industry centers of modern America being located anywhere but Russell's home region. Russell challenges the idea that a "brain drain" from the heartland is actually taking place.

One factor affecting migration to this region that seems to appear in Russell's accounts is a certain amount of xenophobia in this region; he documents instances where the residents of some areas are hostile to "outsiders" potentially migrating in. This would be a major obstacle if attracting workers from other parts of the US is a goal for governments in this region.


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Dwight Williams said...

Indeed, this is something for Alberta and Saskatchewan - the whole of Canada, in fact - to keep in mind. How they go about it...?

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