Arnold Kling  

Cities and Educated Elites

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Richard Florida writes,

Today, a demographic realignment that may prove just as significant is under way: the mass relocation of highly skilled, highly educated, and highly paid Americans to a relatively small number of metropolitan regions, and a corresponding exodus of the traditional lower and middle classes from these same places. Such geographic sorting of people by economic potential, on this scale, is unprecedented. I call it the “means migration.”

This is an article where the prose and the statistics do not match. The term "migration" would suggest that the number of college-educated people is declining in many areas and increasing in the major cities. Instead, what the data mainly show is a broad-based increase in college-educated people. Perhaps the increase has been slightly larger in some major metros than elsewhere, but even after some intense torturing of the data by Mr. Florida, the confession of this increase in concentration of educated elites is rather faint.

Richard Florida is a media star. I tend to distrust media stars in social science. When they pile heavy prose onto flimsy statistical foundations, I distrust them even more.

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CATEGORIES: Economics and Culture

COMMENTS (2 to date)
Steve Sailer writes:

I've been a critic of Florida's "creative cities" theory for four years, but he's definitely onto something here. There is a concentration of the highly educated in certain cities. The problem with his Atlantic article statistics is that he's not breaking out non-Hispanic white population, where this is most clearly visible. The concentration of well-educated younger whites in certain cities then attracts in a very poorly educated class of Hispanic immigrants to service them, thus diluting the effects when looking at the overall populations.

zoevans writes:

I agree with Sailer. Flordia just might be on to something. If you think for a sec, Flordia just might make a little sense. The industry market has been and is growing, which does draw immigrants and farmer into industrial area. But on the same token families desire the suburbs as opposed to centrally located in cites. I can see why Kling distrusts media stars in social science, because I tend not to distrust them period. But here in my opinion Flordia makes a plausible hypothesis, but not a good foundation for building a Strong conclusion, well put Kling!

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