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Recent Grads Who Move Make More Money

There’s a new migration happening in the United States among the most highly educated millennials — they are flocking to Silicon Valley.

At Earnest, we recently took a look at where new graduates were going after finishing school. We found that 23% of all graduates from a top 25 school in other regions moved to the West Coast within five years of graduation — and more than 80% of graduates from top schools on the West Coast are staying in the region.

Key takeaways:

1. Nearly a quarter of all graduates from a top 25 school outside the West Coast move to the West Coast after graduation.

2. Metro areas in Silicon Valley have the strongest job growth in the country.

3. Graduates of top schools who move to a new region earn $23,000 more than those who remain where they studied. [Tweet this]

This data fits into the broader story about job growth in Silicon Valley. Based on October 2015 data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, economist Jed Kolko has found  that job growth in San Jose and San Francisco is the strongest in the nation.


Our data revealed additional clues about why people are moving from one region to another and how economic opportunity translates into actual dollars.


Median annual income for top-school graduates who move is $119,000 compared to $96,000 for their peers who remain in the region where they studied. Data showed the median annual earnings across all graduates, including those from schools not in the top 25, who move to another region is $65,000 compared to $55,000 for those who do not relocate.

To be sure, moving to a new region on its own is not the reason for a pay bump — but rather those who are most qualified for higher-paying positions may also be more likely to move to a new region for a job.


However, this difference in earnings is yet another piece of evidence underscoring the concentration of high-paying jobs on the West Coast and the participation of recent graduates in this trend.

This analysis considered data from more than 30,000 Earnest loan applications  from people who graduated from a college or university within the previous three months to five years.

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