East vs. West
It has long been my contention that people who live on the West Coast are more likely to move to the East Coast than vice versa. Today we will examine the many hypothesis and reasonings for why that may be. But we will also offer a more neutral view which is to say that “people of a higher education and income level tend to be more transient” which is a theory by a colleague of mine who wishes to be known as Stanley.
On the surface, the most obvious reason why young people from the West Coast would move East is education. The West Coast has many wonderful schools (i.e. Stanford, Berkeley, USC), but it doesn’t have the Ivy’s or as many well known high end schools like Georgetown and Johns Hopkins. While everyone is different, it stands to reason that a well educated and motivated student on the West Coast may grow up assuming that there is a 50% chance (or better) that they will move to the East Coast for college.
Another factor, though certainly not a driving factor, is that families tend to have deeper roots on the East Coast than on the West Coast. For families that have been in the U.S. for over a hundred years, it is likely that there is some family on the East Coast. Hence, it may be a common situation whereby a family lives in California but grandparents and cousins live on the East Coast. With East Coast families, it is possible (and probably more common) that there is no family on the West Coast.
Since this blog is NYCity Lights, it is apropros that another factor is New York City herself. New York City, while certainly a center for finance, is also a hub for nearly every common industry. Entertainment, advertising, fashion, journalism and technology are all fields that can be pursued in New York City. There are not many cities in the world which offer such diversity of career choices. On that note, folks on the East Coast do not “need” to move to the West Coast to pursue their dreams. They may simply need to move to New York City. The same may not hold true for West Coasters. Los Angeles is a town focused on enternment. San Francisco may not be the best place for a career in fashion.
Lets examine Stanley’s theory of transiency which is based on higher income and education level. Under his theory, if you take a low to middle class ‘B/C’ student on the West Coast and East Coast, they would have the same likeihood to be (or not be) transient. In addition, a wealthy ‘A’ student from either coast would also have the same likelihood to be (or not be) transient. That said, he believes the more wealth and education, the higher the percentage of transiency.
Here is my conclusion. Stanley is not wrong that more wealth and education lead to transiency. However, I think that the other factors (like Ivy League schools mainly being on the East Coast) will still skew the numbers such that West Coasters will be more transient than East Coasters. As an East Coaster myself, I am somewhat envious of the forces that push a West Coaster to move across America. And while the title of this post is East vs. West, I am certain that the blending of our East and West citizens has gone a long way in uniting our Country. So I will continue to sit in my cubicle and assume that life on the West Coast is straight out of Beverly Hills 90210 and somewhere in Los Angeles County there is someone who believes New York City life is straight out of the show Friends or Gossip Girl. We all like to believe that somewhere out there is a place better than where we are. From the Gold Rush to the Silicon Valley boom, I know that I am part of an age-old tradition of California dreaming. And I am more than ok with that. Keep it classy San Diego.
Bright Lights, Big City.