An Iowa State University study says the number of people leaving the state has leveled off, but those that are leaving are more highly trained and better paid. Sociologist David Peters says the state lost almost 10,000 people in the last recession from 2001-2002.

Peters says the average per-capita income for those people was about $50,000 per person. While we lost only about 700 people from 2007 to 2008, those people took an average of $300,000 a year in income with them. Peters says much of the migration is to nearby states.

He says a lot of people are moving to larger metropolitan areas in the midwest, and in the south and west, as those areas have historically grown faster than the midwest. Peters says the growth in other areas requires high-skilled workers, and they are turning to Iowa fill the spots.

Peters says one of the positives of Iowa’s culture, a good educational system, is a double-edge sword. He says other states want our skilled workers and are willing to pay them much higher salaries than what they are getting paid in Iowa to lure them away. Peters says the research supports the continued call to create more high-skilled, good-paying jobs in the state.

Peters says Iowa has the supply side of workers filled, but needs more work on the demand side with jobs for those workers. Peters says the Census information doesn’t give a break-down of the ages of those who are leaving the state, but he says there are good clues. He says some of the largest outflows of people are from Story and Johnson counties, the homes of Iowa State University and the University of Iowa.

Peters says they also find that the people moving out of Iowa tend to have larger household sizes, so they are younger with kids. Peters says the most popular destinations for people leaving Iowa were Minneapolis and Phoenix, as well as the border counties around Sioux City and Omaha, Nebraska. Peters says Iowans can move to the nearby Midwestern states and make more money and still enjoy a relatively low cost of living.