Which Cities Hold On To Their College Graduates The Best?

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New York and Seattle are good at holding onto their college graduates, but neither one retains a higher percentage than a surprising Midwest metro

March 15, 2016

College students who are winding down their college careers after four years of stress-induced nightmares, all-nighters (of both the educational and more recreational kind), and copious doses of caffeine tend to look more like someone you’d expect to see on an episode of Cops, and less like the future of the workforce.

But give them some time to shake of those last few finals and get cleaned up, and the Statue of David finally begins to emerge from the obtuse marble block.

The problem is, some cities never get to see the emerging adults that colleges and universities helped to shape. Just as college students begin to head into full-on adulthood, they head for open waters and take their talents elsewhere. That's a problem for many cities, considering college graduates are important for driving innovation and economic development and also play a large role in the wealth and affluence of cities.

But not all cities lose their college graduates; some are better than others at holding onto them. As CityLab reports, new data and research has helped to illuminate which cities have the highest retention rates of their college graduates. The data covers 1,700 of the largest U.S. colleges and universities (both two-year and four-year institutions) that graduate around two-thirds of their students. The data was compared with where college and university graduates reside based on LinkedIn’s alumni profiles. Then this data was mapped out by metro to discover which areas have the highest amount of alumni living in the area.

The number one metro on the list may come as a bit of a shock to some. Detroit-Warren-Livonia, Mich. has the highest retention rate of any large metro in the country with 77.7 percent. This is most likely due to the proximity of The University of Michigan as well as some smaller colleges that serve a more locally based group of students. The Houston Metropolitan area was second with a retention rate of 75.9 percent. Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, Ariz. had the worst retention rate among large metros with 36.3 percent.

For a full breakdown of the data, follow the link below.

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