The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

AP: Larger cities attract graduates

For freshman Sarah Loew, getting away from Eau Claire is something she said she wants to do when she graduates.

Loew wants to become a missionary teacher, something which she said will probably take her to a more rural area.

“I’d probably teach in more lower-income, poverty-stricken areas,” she said.

Like Loew, many students who graduate from college leave town in search of the place with the best job opportunities for them; however, unlike Loew, most are moving to larger cities, according to a recent analysis released by the Associated Press.

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The AP analyzed census data from 21 of the largest cities from 1970 to 2004. It used census data from 1970 to 2000 and the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey for 2004.

The size and location of the cities provided regional balance. The analysis expanded for 2005, the latest year for data, to include all 70 cities with populations of 250,000 or more.

According to the study, large cities in the Northeast and Midwest are seeing fewer college graduates than those in the South and West.

With so many UW-Eau Claire students coming from Minnesota, Ed Young, associate professor of economics, said it’s somewhat expected that those students won’t stay in Western Wisconsin.

“I don’t think it’s a new problem, and I don’t think it’s a detriment to a local economy,” Young said. “(Graduates) are going to go where the opportunities are, which are in more urban areas.”

“To try to keep graduates in western Wisconsin, in the Eau Claire area, would be (foolish) because there are not enough opportunities,” Young said.

Although larger cities are homes to more cultural events and major league sports teams, he said the main reason why people move to these areas is their high number of jobs.

College graduates made about two-thirds more money than high school graduates in 2004, according to the Bureau.

The median income for adults with bachelors degrees was $42,404. It was $25,360 for high school graduates.

Adults who did not graduate from high school had a median income of $18,144.

And while this might explain the economic success of larger cities, Young said that if there are any effects of the number of college graduates on the economy, they are more long-term.

“People can move;” he said, “businesses can’t.”

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AP: Larger cities attract graduates