In 2018 the Wall Street Journal published this piece that examined where graduates from top colleges move after they finish college.
It illustrated how few cities in the United States truly attract national talent, and why companies like Amazon that hope to attract 99th percentile national talent, focus exclusively on the cities with national reach.
It also illustrated that the evolution of many up-and-coming cities is being fueled not by their increased standing in the national consciousness, but because they are attracting greater numbers of graduates from within their own states, often at the expense of other nearby cities. Booming cities like Raleigh, Austin, Indianapolis and Columbus, for instance, are gaining population from predominately within their own states, in contrast to cities whose growth truly reflects national appeal. They are local capitals, but have not yet advanced to a truly national standing.
Tier 1: Elite Global and National Leaders in Attracting Top Graduates
Cities whose draw from top graduates of elite colleges is genuinely as strong nationally and globally as it is regionally:
New York City
Tier 2: Established National Leaders in Attracting Top Graduates
Cities that draw from a national spectrum of top graduates with a preponderance coming from within their own regions:
Tier 3: Emergent National Leaders in Attracting Top Graduates
Cities that draw from a large regional collection of colleges but which have not yet established a broadly national draw:
Tier 4: Regional Leaders in Attracting Top Graduates
Cities that draw from a large collection of mostly colleges within one state of where they are located:
Tier 5: State Leaders in Attracting Top Graduates
Cities that draw from a large collection of mostly colleges within their own state:
Tier 6: Local Destinations for Top Graduates
Cities that draw from fewer than 10 colleges, all located within their own state:
Salt Lake City