College Graduates, Local Retailers, and Community Belonging in the United States
How do communities retain their highly educated residents? Do local retailers play a role? This study addresses these questions using confidential U.S. census data on locally-oriented retail employment and county-level public-use files. Hierarchical linear modeling is employed to test hypotheses derived from prior research on civic community and migration. The results confirm that state-level local retail employment buffers the extent to which county-level college graduation is associated with county nonmigration. This finding is consistent with civic community theory, suggesting that locally-oriented retailers are a valuable resource for promoting residential stability.
Stroope, Samuel, Aaron B. Franzen, Charles M. Tolbert, and F. Carson Mencken. “College Graduates, Local Retailers, and Community Belonging in the United States.” Sociological Spectrum 34, no. 2 (2014): 143–62. doi:10.1080/02732173.2014.878612.