Talent Flow and Attraction

Indicator 20:  Talent Flow and Attraction


How Does Massachusetts Perform?

Indicator 20:  Talent Flow and AttractionIn recent years, net migration in the LTS has been concentrated in so-called “Sun Belt” states such as Florida, Texas, North Carolina, and California, all of which place in the Top 5 LTS in net migration as a percentage of the population.  Minnesota is an outlier in this respect, placing 4th in the LTS. Massachusetts places 6th, in this measure, although it has declined every year since 2013. Massachusetts track record in attracting the college-educated is much better as, in 2016, Massachusetts regained the top spot among the LTS for relocation for college-educated adults as a percentage of the population 25 years and older. As companies scramble to take advantage of the talent in Greater Boston, college-educated adults are incentivized to relocate to a city offering opportunities, creating a self-perpetuating effect.  

In 2016, Massachusetts’ net migration levels were around 15,000, after dropping substantially from their ten-year peak in 2013 (32,251). International migration decreased 1.5% between 2015-2016, reaching 40,898, while domestic migration dropped -15.9% from the previous year to - 25,606. This is in part due to the increasing cost of living in the state. Despite the state’s many amenities, the high cost of housing and the issues that come with it are driving some people away.  In addition, Massachusetts and other cold climate states typically lose retirees to balmier locations.

Despite the slowdown, Massachusetts has had positive net migration every year since 2008, representing a strong rebound from the early-to mid-2000’s when the state experienced six consecutive years of negative net migration.