Last week we launched the first in a quarterly series of forums to discuss pressing questions facing state policymakers, focusing on current research and areas of research that could be pursued in order to better inform policy leaders and drive decision-making. 

The first forum provided an in-depth look at migration, examining the trends in data and dispelling the anecdotes and headlines that discuss a net loss in population. In fact, Connecticut saw a net inflow of people in eight of the ten years from 2005 to 2014 as shown in the figure below.

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In fact, when looking at the in and out flows of college graduates, Connecticut has experienced a positive net inflow of people. The below graph displays these data (Source: U.S. Census American Community Survey).

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The initial session, attended by 25 individuals from throughout the state, included spirited discussions focused on enumerating the critical questions and issues, identifying relevant research that already exists, and determining data that is needed.

Migration is a frequent topic discussed in the media, with conflicting statistics about the true story of the population changes of our state.  In holding this forum, our objective is for the data – either existing or newly developed - to provide the foundation for how to move forward with answering the pressing policy questions facing our state.

Thomas J. Cook, Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Connecticut, shared his research findings and helped moderate the discussion. His expertise involves population, urban, and economic geography - with a primary interest in the interplay between mobility and inequality.

The forum examined the questions most often discussed in the media such as: migration of college graduates, if taxes impact migration, and whether or not millionaires are migrating out of state. There was tremendous energy and interest in this topic and a decision to continue the dialogue. The next step will be to explore the drivers of mobility at each stage of life and determine the impact in Connecticut.