Leaving Minnesota? Yes, Minnesotans do return

There was lots of interest in my recent posts about Minnesotans leaving Minnesota and long-term worries about the state’s workforce. Katy Campbell wanted me to know that many Minnesotans do return. She did.

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Campbell, 26, a marketing statistician, lives in Hopkins now after a trek that took her and her husband to the East Coast and back. It began at St. Olaf College, where as a senior she decided she had to leave.

“I saw that there were no jobs I was interested in that would take someone with a BA,” Campbell says. She went to Iowa State and earned a master’s degree but still saw her best work options outside the Midwest.

She found work in Stamford, Conn., but after only a couple months realized it was not a place where she and her husband could put down roots.

We both missed our friends and family here, and most of all missed the culture… Finally, we realized we would never be able to buy a house. We might be able to get a condo (for $500k) but that would be it, and we weren’t in love with the area at all.

After living in Connecticut for a little over a year, I started looking for options to move back to Minnesota. I was able to transfer to a different position in my company that had an office in Saint Louis Park…When we moved back, to Hopkins last year, we knew we were home. We bought a house, and are happy to live in a real neighborhood again.

I think we always thought there was a possibility of moving back. We were really drawn to the higher salaries offered out there (my husband transferred his job and got a 20% cost of living increase to move out) but were not aware that the cost of living would really be so much higher.

There’s no doubt Minnesota has some long term economic concerns. After jumping 15 percent this decade, the State Demographic Center projects only an 8.7 percent increase in Minnesota’s labor force over the coming 25 years — and that labor force will age significantly.

Campbell’s story, though, reminds us of Minnesota’s basic strengths: quality of life, affordable housing stock, education.

And then there’s that intangible call to return to Minnesota. As a non-native married to a Minnesotan, I can sure attest to that. Is it enough to draw and keep the work force needed to keep Minnesota’s economy rolling?

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Have you moved in or out of Minnesota in the past year? Drop me a line and share your experience. Or post below. Also, check out the map to read what people in MPR’s Public Insight Network have told us about the job climate around them. Then share your story.

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