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Economy

The Changing Geography of U.S. Talent

Coastal metro areas continue to dominate the market for knowledge and creative workers. But other cities in the middle of the country are starting to gain ground. 

The Nashville metro area saw the greatest growth in its share of college graduates between 2010 and 2019. 

The Nashville metro area saw the greatest growth in its share of college graduates between 2010 and 2019. 

Photographer: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images North America

Talent is a driving force, if not the driving force, in the wealth of places. But highly educated knowledge workers are not evenly distributed. Over the past couple of decades, these workers have become massively concentrated in coastal superstar cities and tech hubs, forming an increasingly uneven winner-take-all geography.

That geography of talent appears to be shifting in subtle but significant ways, according to a new study I co-authored for the think tank Heartland Forward.