Quality of life and the migration of the college-educated: A life-course approach

Ronald L. Whisler, Brigittes S. Waldorf, Gordon F. Mulligan, David A. Plane

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Scopus citations


This paper examines how the college-educated population - segmented into selective demographic groups, from young adults to the elderly - differentially values quality-of-life (QOL) indicators of metropolitan areas in the United States. Using data from the 2000 Census and the 1997 Places Rated Almanac, out-migration patterns are shown to depend jointly upon stage in the life course, the spatial-demographic setting, and QOL characteristics. An abundance of cultural and recreational amenities lowers out-migration rates of young college-educated. For the older college-educated population, the revealed preferences shift toward concerns for safety and a strong preference for milder climates. The study also finds significantly lower out-migration rates for metropolitan areas with growing human capital. In light of shifting age distributions and rising educational attainment levels, the results have important implications for the emergence of new migration patterns and the concentration of human capital.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-94
Number of pages37
JournalGrowth and Change
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change


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