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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

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Not "stuck," but here by choice

A post by Richard Florida last week on theatlanticcities.com highlights "The Geography of Stuck," and shows a "distinctive 'stuck belt'" across the middle of the country running from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, down through West Virginia and into the Sun Belt states of Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana."

Personally, I don't feel stuck in Wisconsin, as I choose to live in Milwaukee and will always call it home. Yet many complain about "Smallwaukee" and the challenges that come with too many long-timers running the show.

Sure, there can be downsides to large numbers of homegrown residents in an area but it's a virtual world and easy, especially in Milwaukee/Chicago, to work with anyone and anywhere.

I haven't done the formal research but I believe in the Midwest and Milwaukee's retention abilities. If you were born here, you usually stay here. Or if you do move away, you usually move back. There's a quality of life in the upper Midwest and the greater Milwaukee area that's hard to match.

I've met Richard Florida several times, and admire him and his work. He's good at packaging his message and I'm sure this "stuck" theme will have some legs. But, Richard, I'm not stuck here, I'm here by choice.

Talkbacks

mikeb | Nov. 30, 2011 at 2:26 p.m. (report)

I've stayed my entire life in the Milwaukee area for a lot of reasons. I've never thought that I lacked economic opportunities by being here. The last I checked one can work as a CPA here just as well as one could in Portland.

The Milwaukee area has a lot going for it. We have the amenities of most cities, but it's still a very easy area to move around in. We have very good universities. Our public school system (with the exception of much of MPS) is outstanding. People will complain about the cold weather, but how much would you be doing outside in the Summer if you lived in the South?

And while we've lost some corporate headquarters over the years we still have quite a few major companies that call this area home. As long as they continue to do so the economic opportunities will continue to be here.

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scaryzebra | Nov. 30, 2011 at 12:08 p.m. (report)

My family and I moved here from San Francisco a year ago by choice. We are not from here and have never lived here before. I also have a friend who moved to Milwaukee about a year ago from LA - same story. We love Milwaukee!

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Massaconsin | Nov. 30, 2011 at 12:13 a.m. (report)

Interesting report. Does anyone wonder if part of 'stuck' is the fact that there were high quality manufacturing type jobs.

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jolivergraham | Nov. 29, 2011 at 4:05 p.m. (report)

This recent interactive map by Forbes illustrates the movement of people around the US. It's interesting to compare the movement of individuals in Detroit and Milwaukee to that of more attractive cities like Denver and New Orleans. It's worth a look and, to some extent, confirms the "Stuck" theory.

http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2011/migration.html

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