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UMass Donahue Institute and MassINC release groundbreaking study of migration patterns in Massachusetts

The Commonwealth is losing the national competition for skilled workers, according to new research conducted by the UMass Donahue Institute's Economic and Public Policy Research Unit in collaboration with faculty from UMass Amherst and the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC). The report summarizing the results of this research, "Mass.Migration," is a joint project of the UMass Donahue Institute and MassINC, and was underwritten by MassHousing.

Key findings from the Mass.Migration report include:

  • In every single year over the last 12 years, Mass. lost more people than it attracted (excluding international immigrants).Mass. has suffered a net loss of 213,191 domestic out-migrants.
  • Mass. is exporting a substantial number of residents to the rest of New England (CT, ME, NH, RI, VT).The rate of loss over the last 5 years has accelerated, despite a strong economy for much of that period.Over the last 12 years, on net, Mass. lost 79,031 people to other NE states.
  • Native-born, middle-class families are migrating in increasing numbers to other New England States, most notably to New Hampshire.
  • The vast majority of people who migrate to another New England state (80%) do not continue to work in Massachusetts.
  • Mass. is narrowly winning its fight to attract young highly educated talent from its economic competitor states (CA, CO, CT, MN, NC, NJ, NY), gaining 14,428 people over the last 12 years.
  • Mass. attracts a very specific type of person.No matter where they are coming from, they tend to be young, unmarried, highly educated professionals and managers who work in the knowledge economy.
  • Those leaving for our economic competitor states share similar traits with in-migrants but in even higher percentages.
  • There is also a substantial loss of people to Florida, Georgia, and Arizona.These states are top destinations for young, educated people across the country.
  • The availability of high-quality jobs does not guarantee that there will be enough skilled workers to fill them.Even at our economy's peak, Massachusetts, on net, was not able to attract workers to our state.



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