Quality of Place and Migration
On June 5th, I gave a keynote address at the “Symposium on Small Towns.” My main objective was to encourage the audience to think about migration in a different way, “It is not place failure. It is not a negative outcome. It is one person connecting two places.”
Rural communities worry about residents leaving. Urban communities worry about residents leaving. All places understand brain drain as a symptom of shortcomings. If your hometown was Creative Class cool, no one would move to Austin.
Residents in the so-called “Millennial” group, ages 20-34, “are not happy with their overall life on Long Island,” citing as obstacles “the lack of housing options and high housing costs” as well as a dearth of housing “in walkable communities with public transportation,” the report says.
Read the report for yourself here (PDF). Make of the results what you will. I am surprised to see in Newsday a critique of the research methodology:
“It’s a sample of people who he was able to reach on social media and who decided to respond to him,” said John Logan, a sociology professor at Brown University and a former Stony Brook University professor, who has done census data analyses of communities across the nation, including Long Island, for Brown’s US2010 Project.
“It’s a very self-selected sample,” said Logan, who had not read the report but was responding to a reporter’s description.
Logan, however, said of Cantor’s correlation and regression, or predictive, analysis: “We can have more confidence in those associations even when the sample is not a random sample” if a “strong pattern” emerged. Cantor’s findings about young people who consider leaving the Island is “plausible,” he said, and consistent with a general pattern. Cantor conceded Logan’s point about the survey not being random, adding he set a “high standard” on his analysis at a 99 percent confidence level to toss “fringe” social media responses.
By “general pattern” did Logan mean national? Are Long Island Millennials representative of a local attitude or a national trend? That’s a bridge too far for Cantor’s study, robust sample or not.
If the concern is about retaining young adults, then we should be looking at places that do a good job of retaining young adults. People vote with their feet. The regions with the best retention should be the regions with the best quality of place. I bet Long Island’s retention rate is better than Brooklyn’s.