University education contributes to regional inequalities, says IFS


Friday, September 17, 2021 6:00 a.m.

Higher education allows graduates to move to London and other cities with better career prospects, according to research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies

University education contributes to geographic inequality across the UK, according to a new report released today by a leading economics think tank.

Higher education allows graduates to move to London and other cities that offer better career prospects, according to research from the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

By age 27, graduates are 10 percentage points more likely to have moved from where they grew up than people who did not go to college.

Career opportunities tend to be scarcer in less urban areas due to the low business population. Graduates often leave these areas in search of higher incomes elsewhere.

The flight of graduates to cities is causing a so-called brain drain – where highly skilled and productive people leave local communities, hampering economic prosperity – in coastal and northern areas, IFS said. This brain drain leaves the fields that graduates left behind much worse.

Xiaowei Xu, senior research economist at IFS and author of the report, said: “By moving from more deprived areas to London and other cities, graduates improve their own career prospects, but this exacerbates geographic inequalities in skills”.

“In addition to ‘leveling up’ educational attainment across the country, policymakers should consider how to attract and retain talent in currently less affluent places.”

Areas with the highest rates of robbery include Northallerton, a market town in Yorkshire, and Grimsby, a fishing town in Lincolnshire.

London, Bristol and Brighton produce a large number of graduates from their internal population, but also benefit from the arrival of graduates from other regions.


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