The Annals of Regional Science

, Volume 50, Issue 2, pp 577–590 | Cite as

Education and the location of work: a continued economic role for central cities?

  • William SanderEmail author
  • William A. Testa
Original Paper


Using data on individuals from the 2008 American Community Survey, we examine the relationship between educational attainment and the location of jobs in fifteen large metropolitan areas in the United States. We focus on whether individuals with higher educational attainment tend to work in the central city versus the suburbs, and we do so taking into account the residential location of households (central city vs suburb). We show that central cities tend to be the work site of more highly educated workers—those with a bachelor’s degree and above. Workers with less than a high school degree also tend to work in the city. Taking account of the residential location preferences of highly educated workers mildly diminishes the direct effect of higher education on city job location, but it does not negate it. In contrast, central city job opportunities for workers with less than a high school education are not so abundant; these workers tend to work in the city mostly because they also live there.


Education Location Work Cities 

JEL Classification

D19 I20 R12 



We would like to thank Dan McMillen, the editor, and two anonymous reviewers for their comments on a preliminary draft. A preliminary version of the paper was presented at the 2011 Western Regional Science Association’s Annual Meeting in Kauai.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsDePaul UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Federal Reserve Bank of ChicagoChicagoUSA

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