With sustained demand for STEM1 occupations, the challenge for states and metro areas is to attract and retain qualified workers to fill these positions. U.S. Census American Community Survey (2006–2010 estimates) data reveal that Chicago is a magnet for 25- to 34-year-olds from Midwestern college towns. However, the region is losing more members of this cohort to other metro areas than it is attracting. When accounting for the margins of error, only 28 metros showed a statistically significant difference in average annual inflows to and outflows from Chicago.2 Each year, an estimated 8,841 25- to 34-yearolds moved to Chicago from these 28 metros, while 11,631 left Chicago, creating a net loss of 2,790 Chicago residents. The top ten source and destination metros are illustrated in the following map.
The current immigration laws also affect the state’s ability to retain high-skilled workers. Each year in Illinois, more than 40 percent of students graduating with a master’s or doctorate degree in STEM subjects are temporary immigrant residents.3 In 2011, nearly 2,700 high-level specialists in areas such as computer programming, data analysis, engineering, and biomedicine were unable to obtain longer-term work visas after graduating from Illinois institutions. In losing these graduates, Illinois misses out on the scientific and technological expertise they could bring to our universities, businesses, and communities.
For full migration analysis sourcing and methodology, follow this link.