Arizona is doing well when it comes to attracting educated people to the state. Arizona ranks sixth in net domestic migration of individuals with a bachelor’s degree or higher.

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In an era defined by increasing economic disparities and a growing emphasis on knowledge-based industries, attracting educated people and the migration of educated individuals plays a pivotal role in shaping the socio-economic landscape of American states. Arizona, a state known for its diverse opportunities and vibrant culture, attracts individuals with varying levels of education, creating a dynamic demographic shift. Understanding this migration is crucial for policymakers, educators, and economists alike, as it not only reflects the state’s evolving labor force, but also its capacity to harness the intellectual capital of its newcomers. This analysis draws on data from the American Community Survey (ACS) 2022 1-year estimates, which selects and surveys individuals to estimate migration patterns across the county. Exhibit 1 illustrates the net domestic migration of persons 25 years and older in 2022. Arizona ranked fourth in this measure, with a net increase of 51,881 individuals 25 and up. Florida (196,997), Texas (102,830), and Georgia (52,865) ranked highest in this measure, while California (-221,203), New York (-180,100), and Illinois (-74,121) ranked lowest.

Highly skilled workers are not only the lifeblood of innovation but also the driving force behind the sustained economic growth of Arizona. In a landscape where both large corporations and small enterprises alike are constantly seeking top-tier talent, the influx of educated individuals represents a strategic advantage for the state. The ability to attract and retain such individuals is a testament to Arizona’s competitiveness in the global marketplace. Exhibit 2 illustrates the net domestic migration of persons 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree or higher. Arizona ranks sixth in this measure, with a net domestic migration of 22,811 individuals 25 and up with a bachelor’s or an advanced degree. Florida (90,767), Texas (48,547), and Georgia (28,368) rank highest in this measure, while New York (-71,975), California (-56,266), and Illinois (-40,108) take up the rear.

Net migration, the difference between individuals moving into and out of Arizona, is not uniform across the educational spectrum. By categorizing migration data according to education levels, we can reveal nuances in the patterns of movement, shedding light on how the state’s evolving economy impacts diverse segments of its population. Exhibit 3 lists net domestic migration by state for persons 25 years and older at each level of education, sorted by total net domestic migration.

Exhibit 3: Net Domestic Migration by State for Persons 25 and Older by Education Level, ACS 2022 1-Year Estimates:

Author: This story was written by Delaney O’Kray-Murphy, an EBRC research economist.