A study shows a net 28,000 college-educated Louisianans migrated out of the state between 2007 and 2017, with a net 38,000 aged 25-54 leaving for greener pastures.

UL-Lafayette Professor of Economics Gary Wagner conducted the study and says that’s bad news for the state because you need college-educated workers to power a modern economy.

“When you see this net outflow of college-educated people, it means that Louisiana’s economy today is most likely smaller than it would have been if they had not left,” says Wagner.

Dating back to 2000, a net 88,000 college-educated people migrated away.

So where are these folks heading? Wagner says three-quarters of the migration is going to just four states.

“About 17,000, so well over half, have been moving to Texas, they’ve been moving to Colorado, almost 4,000 to Arkansas, almost 3,000 to Virginia,” says Wagner.

A few states are bucking that trend. Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, New York, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania all had net positive migration of over a thousand.

There are concerns that continuing outmigration could create an economic death spiral, but Wagner says if we can create more high paying jobs, that trend could reverse itself quickly.

“We are in the south, we have a nice climate as opposed to say Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York. We have a nice culture in the state that attracts a lot of people, and also brings a lot of people back,” says Wagner.

Data available here