Emsi Launches New Research on Alumni Migration

Published on Oct 25, 2018

Updated on Nov 3, 2022

Written by Emsi Burning Glass

Emsi Launches New Research on Alumni Migration

Emsi is proud to announce the release of our latest research: How Your School Affects Where You Live.

In a follow-up to the report we worked on earlier this year with The Wall Street Journal, we looked at where graduates move after college. And this time, we also analyzed how the type of school you attend affects where you’ll live after you graduate.


  • On average, a student who attends a community college will stay within 300 miles of the college. And 61% live within 50 miles of the college.

  • State university grads generally stay within state lines with an average distance of 330 miles from their alma mater. And 40% are within 50 miles of the university.

  • Graduates of elite schools flock to the big cities and tend to move nearly 700 miles away from their universities. Nearly 40% are over 500 miles from the university.

  • Graduates of schools with large (or fully) online offerings live all over the U.S. And over 60% are more than 500 miles away from their university’s central location.

Why Does This Matter?

This information is useful for just about everyone. Students and their families deciding which school to attend. Colleges and universities looking to understand their impact and reach. Communities and employers evaluating the talent moving in and out of their regions.

Considering how tight the labor market is right now, it’s crucial that everyone understands the relationship between school type and where graduates live. Brain drain is a very real problem for a lot of states, which is why we also looked at which states do the best (and worst) jobs of retaining their college talent. How can we learn from them?

And finally, we also built a free interactive database so you can explore migration data for your own school. You’ll find it at the bottom of the report webpage.

As always, if you have any questions about Emsi, our data, or this report, please reach out! We are happy to help.

Meredith Metsker is a data journalist at Emsi. She can be reached at meredith.metsker@economicmodeling.com