Published In

Metropolitan Knowledge Network

Document Type


Publication Date



Emigration and immigration -- Economic aspects, Economic conditions -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Demographic surveys -- Oregon -- Portland Metropolitan Area, Portland (Or.) -- Social life and customs


Few segments of the population are more critical to Portland’s future economic vitality than the young and college‐educated (YCE). In the last several decades the Portland metropolitan region has become a magnet for YCEs nationally, boasting one of the country’s highest net migration rates for college‐educated individuals under the age of 40, a trend that has continued in good economic times and bad. The infusion of human capital from other regions has undoubtedly been a benefit to Portland, especially given Oregon’s historically low levels of investment in higher education.

However, in recent years there has been growing concern about the poor labor market prospects for Portland’s YCEs, in particular the problem of underemployment. The television show Portlandia has amusingly captured this concern, dubbing the city "the place where young people go to retire." To the extent that Portland’s YCEs face a chronically difficult job market, there is cause for concern that college graduates will stop moving to Portland, or that those who have moved here won’t stay.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


Appeared in Metropolitan Knowledge Network, a production of the Institute of Metropolitan Studies and the Population Research Center at Portland State University.

Persistent Identifier