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A few facts you may not have known about the Super Bowl

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Are we losing our best and brightest to other states?

By Jay Colbert, GIS Project Manager, The Polis Center at IUPUI

Opinions abound on the issue of “Brain Drain” in Indiana and elsewhere. Brain Drain is the term given when college graduates move out of state taking their knowledge and skills with them. What drives it, what can be done about it, and how do we compare to other peer cities in educational attainment?

Let’s go to the numbers and see what we can learn.

Let’s start at the beginning – when students first attend college. Similar to other large universities, Indiana attracts many out-of-state college students. According to a Washington Post blog, in 2008 Indiana attracted 13,386 out-of-state students while 4,802 students left the state for college resulting in a net gain of 8,584. A “brain gain” indeed that ranks second of all states in the nation. Sounds like we get started on the right foot.

Things then flip after graduation when 50% of students leave Indiana to find work. There are many reasons why graduates might leave the state—more job opportunities elsewhere, the young adults may be pursuing a different culture found in only big and coastal cities—and we see many of them hail from out-of-state to begin with so maybe they just return home to pursue work.

And the higher the level of education obtained, the higher the probability that students will leave Indiana. Check out this interactive map showing Indiana brain drain by county. Another interactive map from the U.S. Census Bureau shows migration patterns by county for the whole nation. Just pick a county and see where people are going to and coming from. Would you have guessed that Marion County gains a net 512 people per year from Los Angeles County, California?

What is being done about Indiana brain drain? Lilly Endowment announced in December of 2013 a pledge of 63 million dollars to fight Indiana brain drain. The money will go to Indiana universities to expand career development programs, such as internships, but that alone will not keep graduates here if the right job opportunities do not exist.

And not everyone believes Indiana brain drain is a real problem. Check out this article from the Indiana Business Journal suggesting that Indiana has a relatively high rate of graduate retention.

In any case, how does Marion County stack up against Midwestern peer cities in educational attainment and top industries? Unfortunately we rank near the bottom in educational attainment. Columbus, Ohio and Nashville, Tennessee stand out with the highest rates of population with a bachelor degree or higher, with Indianapolis lagging behind.


And it’s easy to believe that education levels will have something to do with what industries predominate. This table shows top industries for our peer counties. They all have a top industry of Education/Health Care, but those with higher educational attainment seem to be more likely to result in more jobs in professional, scientific, and management sectors.

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Clearly the picture is less than crystal clear on Indiana brain drain. Do some thinking on your own and let us know your thoughts and opinions.

Best of 2013

The SAVI team wishes you all a very Happy New Year!

2013 was a busy year for all of us at SAVI. As 2014 launches, we wanted to take a moment to look back and celebrate a few highlights. From unleashing new trends in poverty in Indiana to sharing insightful tips on strategic planning for nonprofits, here are a few of our proudest moments!


Thanks to the engagement of our SAVI community, our blog gained a significant momentum in 2013. We looked at comments and total number of views and social shares, and chose our most popular posts of the year. Take a look!

#3 Indy’s Mass Transit Bill: Debated with Data

In our third most popular blog, Jay Colbert shared data to help readers reach informed opinions regarding development of a regional transit system in Central Indiana.

#2 Good Planning + Good Data = Positive Community Impact

We all want to have a positive impact on our community. In this blog, Sharon Kandris describes how good planning and good data lead to successful program planning.

#1 Addressing Hunger in Central Indiana: Gaps and Opportunities

The number one blog of 2013 was Sharon Kandris’s informative report on the state of hunger in Central Indiana and what we can do to address it.

Trends in Poverty Report 

poverty reportI out of 5 people in Marion County are in poverty. Our Trends in Poverty report explored the 2012 poverty data to examine the disparities that exist in Marion county by age, race, gender, education levels, and neighborhoods – and how that has changed since 2000. This report gained lots of local attention. You can access the report here.

WTHR Coverage
WISH-TV’s Report

2013 Governor’s Conference on Service and Nonprofit Capacity Building

More than 200 people attended last year’s conference that was focused on building capacity of nonprofits in six core areas: Funding, Communications, Collaboration, Volunteerism, Strategic planning, and Governance. This year, we added a second day to feature the first statewide Human Needs Summit, a working session in which participants collaborated to share insights and discuss gaps and opportunities in education, health, hunger, and housing.

Logo Governors Conference (open text)

Save the date! The 2014 conference will be held at the IUPUI Campus Center on Oct. 1 and 2. We look forward to seeing you there!

What can SAVI can do for you? Whether you’re interested in a demonstration, hands-on training, or courses toward SAVI certification, we’re here to help!


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