West Virginia suffers from it. So do Oklahoma, the Dakotas, the Deep South and the post-industrial states of the Mid-Atlantic. It’s brain drain, and it’s not only affecting the economies and budgets of the states, but is contributing to political polarization as educated people leave the middle of the country for the coasts.
Left unchecked, the trend threatens to result in two, mutually suspicious Americas: one that’s more urban, liberal and diverse, and one that’s more rural, conservative and homogenous.
And across the country, states are fretting about losing educated residents the way a plaintive parent wheedles children who have left the nest: Why did you leave us, and what can we do to get you to come back home?