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2018 March 14 - 04:36 pm

Kansas City Leaders Grappling With Troubling Trend: Brain Drain

More Degree-Holders Moving Out than Moving In

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Kansas City civic officials are keeping an eye on data that show a sharp change in the number of college graduates who have left the city between 2015 and 2016, although they say the reasons for the change aren’t yet clear.

In 2015, 3,000 more people with bachelor’s degrees moved to Kansas City than moved out. But in 2016, that trend was reversed, with about 4,000 more people with bachelor’s degrees moving out than moving in, The Kansas City Star reported. That 2016 net migration total ranks Kansas City 30 out of 31 cities it compares itself with.

“We will do better, I promise you that,” said John Murphy, an attorney who is also a co-chairman of KC Rising, a business community initiative to improve Kansas City’s economic growth.

Frank Lenk, director of research for the Mid-America Regional Council, said a oneyear shift in migration isn’t a trend but acknowledged it’s a big change that should be watched.

“We don’t know quite what it means,” Lenk said. “At face value, it’s a combination of there perhaps being more opportunities elsewhere.”

KC Rising, which started in 2014, recently had its annual meeting to discuss Kansas City’s economic progress. The group analyzes the city’s economy on three metrics: gross domestic products, number of quality jobs and median household income. Kansas City’s position dropped slightly from the year before. It is generally in the middle of 30 cities Kansas City compares itself with.

One strength is Kansas City’s engineering, architectural and life sciences industries, which KC Rising said are the city’s strongest employment sectors compared with the other 30 cities. The city ranks No. 7 in total engineering and architectural employment and eighth in life sciences employment.

“We are already known as a global leader in animal health,” said Wayne Cartner, president and chief executive of the Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute. “We also have significant strength on the human side. We are really looking to link these together.”

Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute this year is rebranding into BioNexus KC as part of its effort to promote human and animal medicine, clinical research and what it calls value-based health care.

Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

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