Q&A Of The Day – How Many Floridians Leave The State After College?
Each day I feature a listener question sent by one of these methods.
Parler & Twitter: @brianmuddradio
Today’s entry: You reminded me of a question I’ve previously meant to ask in your discussion for the potential for a University of Florida graduate campus opening in West Palm Beach. How many college students still leave Florida after graduation? I’ve heard you discuss how that’s not as big of an issue as it used to be because there are better jobs available now but without specifics. Thanks.
Bottom Line: Florida’s undergone a lot of positive changes over the past decade. Aside from environmental progress, this topic/change in dynamic is actually my favorite. In what had been called the “brain drain”, prior to the last decade, Florida had been a net loser of college graduates. Meaning that commonly, born and raised Floridians left the state for career purposes after graduation. The previous brain drain catalyst had been a dearth of high-quality jobs. Florida’s economy had largely been built around three industries: agriculture, leisure and hospitality and real-estate. That led to many college grads who’d wanted to stay in Florida looking elsewhere. The Great Recession, in which Florida’s economy was the 2nd most devastated nationally with only, Nevada having a higher peak unemployment rate, highlighted the issues with such a cyclical economy. Then Governor Scott, who ran on a “Let’s Get to Work” platform built on “jobs” – made his top priority recruiting companies to Florida. He was highly successful. During his eight years as governor, only Texas saw more corporate relocations than Florida. Additionally, as companies relocated to Florida, others commonly added regional headquarters here. Companies like Amazon, Google and Microsoft setup operations in our state as well. With an already burgeoning medical science/biotech presence in South Florida – Florida's economy from South Florida to Jacksonville to Orlando and Tampa took off with white collar career opportunities. This wasn’t lost on Florida’s college grads.
Starting in 2018 the Wall Street Journal partnered with Emsi to track college grad migration. Whereas Florida had previously been a net loser of college grads to other states – we'd become one of the top states for the retention of college graduates. According to the WSJ’s migration tracker, Florida now has the 5th highest retention rate of college grads in the country – retaining well over 60% of graduates. What’s more, is the success of Florida’s university system – currently ranked 1st in the nation - has led to Florida becoming a net importer of college students as well. Florida’s turned the brain-drain on its head. We’re keeping our own college grads as well or better than other states across the country and are attracting some of the best and brightest into our colleges as well. Florida’s economic story is a great one which just keeps getting better and it’s being built on the brains of Floridians who’re commonly born, raised and educated here.