Jersey’s ‘brain drain’ outmigration problem keeps getting worse
A report on the outmigration “brain drain” pattern of New Jersey’s young adult population has been updated with new data, and it shows the problem keeps getting worse.
“Unfortunately, we found that we continue to suffer a net loss, meaning more students, more young adults are leaving the state of New Jersey than are coming in,” said Michele Siekerka, the president and CEO of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.
NJBIA’s analysis finds between 2007 and 2017, the Garden State experienced a net loss of 205,824 adults between the ages of 18 and 34.
“This is New Jersey’s future workforce," Siekerka said.
She said New Jersey spends most of its highest-in-the-nation property taxes on public education only to see students flee the state when they graduate.
The report notes college-age adults, ages 18 to 24, accounted for nearly 60% of young adult outflow from New Jersey, but there was only a 36% inflow of young adult inflow during the same time period.
Almost 671,000 college-age adults left New Jersey while only 346,000 came here.
She pointed out one main reason why so many high school grads head out of state to attend college is because higher education costs in Jersey are extremely high.
“But even bigger than that, we need to address the affordability crisis overall in the state of New Jersey because these young adults can’t afford to stay here. They can’t afford to live here," she said.
Another problem highlighted is student debt. The Class of 2017 in New Jersey graduated with an average debt of $32,247.
The Education Equation report also recommends earlier career exploration and education starting in elementary and middle school, so younger students can begin to explore their interests and assess their strengths.
The report notes this will allow student to start to build a foundation for skill-building before deciding on a college or vocational school.
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com