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Where Do the Smartest People Move?

A new report finds that higher intelligence is linked with rural-to-city migration, and with city-to-suburb movement.
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There are obvious economic reasons why people move some places and not others: Maybe they want a higher-paying job, or maybe a lower rent or mortgage. There might be personality factors involved, too, hence American stereotypes about friendly Midwesterners or irritable Northeasterners. But what role, if any, does basic intelligence play in determining where people choose to live?

That's the question at the heart of a new analysis from psychologist Markus Jokela of the University of Helsinki. In an upcoming issue of the journal Intelligence, Jokela reports that cognitive ability does explain some of America's migration decisions, even after accounting for factors like income. But the findings are hard to boil down into any simple takeaway other than this: Smart people just don't like to stay put.