Census data: Ohio may be stemming 'brain drain'

DAYTON, Ohio - A better economy and job prospects appear to be helping stem Ohio's "brain drain" of young adults, according to a newspaper analysis of census data.

Census numbers indicate that the state may finally have reversed the decades-long trend of losing young adults ages 20 to 34 to other states, The Dayton Daily News ( http://bit.ly/15c8HXj ) reported in Monday.

The analysis found that the state lost more than 420,000 young adults between 1990 and 2010 -- a drop of more than 16 percent. But from July 1, 2010, to July 2012, the state gained 42,562 people in that age range, a 2 percent increase.

"There were often a lot of people who believed there weren't good jobs available here," Brett Visger, deputy chancellor of institutional collaboration for the Ohio Board of Regents, told the newspaper.

"What is becoming clear is we really are moving to a place that has a lot of great opportunities, especially in the manufacturing sector and especially in jobs that aren't going to go away and that need a great level of education," he said. "People are understanding that you don't need to look elsewhere."

Census numbers show that just in the decade from 2000 to 2010, Ohio lost more than 65,000 young adults, a 2.9 percent drop. That decrease was second-worst in the nation, behind only Michigan.

But in the following two years, Ohio regained almost two-thirds of that loss of young adults.

Experts say Ohio needs more graduates with the skills employers say they require to fill jobs. While 35.5 percent of Ohioans have a college degree, 57 percent of jobs in the state will require that education by 2018, according to the Lumina Foundation and the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce.

"Probably the most important thing is that we get more of our students to get a degree in the first place," Ohio Chancellor John Carey said. "When we build a strong economy and create more opportunities, then I think we'll increase the number of graduates who are wanting to stay in Ohio."

Gov. John Kasich said getting people to stay in Ohio or come here is about "creating jobs, being cool, being cutting-edge and selling our state."
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Information from: Dayton Daily News, http://www.daytondailynews.com

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