"Buffalo last year had the lowest out-migration rate of any city in America." What? Isn't Buffalo hemorahaging people? Not according to the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank that studies urban issues.
In Cities Losing People, Not Brains by Froma Harrop on Creators.com, "It's an urban myth that population loss and brain drain go hand in hand..." Some cities with major population losses actually saw their college-educated head count rise to exceed the national average. "Buffalo and Cleveland went from less educated than America to more educated than America,"
The article acknowledges that poverty and many other challenges still plague cities like Buffalo, but insists that "losing brains is yesterday's problem."
"Educated urban residents are disproportionately living in cities once given up for dead because of their "venerable institutions." Froma says "Buffalo is an especially interesting case. It lacks big-name institutions but has a huge number of colleges. Many of their graduates stay in town."
I do not believe this was true ten years ago. I do not believe it was the case even five years ago. But it is stunning to hear the Manhattan Institute declare that our students are now staying in Buffalo beyond graduation.
In addition to having "the lowest out-migration rate of any city in America," the article also states that Buffalo has "the highest percentage of people living in the state where they were born; 81 percent were born in New York." Now that's no surprise.
The article uses the term "nascent repopulation" to describe the new urban chic that is drawing Millenials to our burgeoning downtown core.
The Manhattan Institute's Report suggests that cities like Buffalo "spend money on improving the infrastructure they already have in place — the roads, pipes, housing. An advantage old urban cores have over new mushroom cities is they don't have to build these expensive services from scratch. Above all, turn the public schools into centers of educational excellence and bingo. The educated middle class will stay put, and the poor will move on up."
Were it just so simple.
A look at Buffalo from outside our borders, with some very surprising - and hopeful - conclusions.