Another problem that has affected Big Ten schools in general is low and declining birth rates. The Big Ten collapsed as a football powerhouse in the mid-2000s, and the Big East entered terminal decline. These things both happened around the time that people born in the early 1980s were of college age. The early 1980s is when the United States deindustrialized, and people of prime child-bearing age were leaving the \”Rust Belt\” en masse for areas that had better opportunities at the time. Those ex-Rust Belters all had their children in other regions of the country, especially the South and West. This seems to dovetail with the emergence of the SEC and Pac-12 as the premier conferences in college football. Unfortunately, I don't see this trend reversing anytime soon because the Southern and Western states generally have higher birth rates than the Northeastern and Midwestern states. If I remember correctly, Minnesota and Iowa are the only states in Big Ten territory with birth rates above the national rate. Ohio and Illinois are both slightly below the national rate, and Michigan is significantly below. Pennsylvania has one of the lowest birth rates in the United States. In fact, only the New England states and West Virginia have lower birth rates. This has to make recruitment of elite football talent more difficult, especially compared to the SEC, which is located in states with mostly high birth rates. (Florida has a low birth rate but compensates for it with a very large population.)With that said, I agree with the premise of your article. Cities have to invest in their civic and cultural assets if they want to attract the best and brightest. Simply being an inexpensive place to live or do business isn't enough. If it was, then Massachusetts wouldn't have a more robust economy than Alabama. And while it's perfectly reasonable to desire more efficient use of tax dollars, at some point you begin to get what you pay for. Personally, I think the states with the best quality of life are moderate-tax states. If taxes are too high, they hurt businesses and job growth. If they're too low, they hurt the quality of life and place.

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