Report: 'Brain drain' of city colllege graduates a thing of the past

Philadelphia is leading nationally in college graduate retention growth rates, according to a new report that shows the city’s “brain drain” dilemma is now firmly in the past.

The upward trend became notable with the 2010 Census, and has accelerated since then. Since the turn of the millennium, the number of college-educated 25-to 34-year-olds in Philadelphia has jumped 155%, per the report, far outpacing the city’s overall 4% population growth.

Philly’s growth in young adult degree-holders beats Denver, Washington, D.C., and Seattle by over 15 percentage points, according to the study, and more than doubles the rate of traditional college towns like Boston (77%), Chicago (62%), or New York (59%).

The new analysis was released by Campus Philly, a nonprofit that works to increase college retention and help students fall in love with and find meaningful careers in Philadelphia.

“Our region’s talent is one of its greatest assets and opportunities,” said Sarah Steltz, vice president of economic competitiveness at Chamber of Commerce for Greater Philadelphia, which partnered on the report. “As demonstrated in this report, the growth of Philadelphia’s talent pool — and the desire of students to live and work in Philadelphia after graduation.”

Keeping more people with college degrees is considered desirable in part because of its economic benefit. In general, degree-holders usually make more money, and therefore produce more tax revenue.

Average 25-to-34-year-old bachelor’s degree holders in Philadelphia earn 90% more than people with some college credit but no degree, per the report, and 135% more than people with high school diplomas.