Newly minted college graduates want to go where the great jobs are. Increasingly, that means taking their diplomas and heading straight to Silicon Valley, in a trend that's leading to a brain drain for other parts of the country, according to data from a lending startup.

San Francisco and San Jose are the biggest magnets for outside talent among major cities included in a survey by Earnest of 30,000 loan applicants who completed a degree at a college or university between three months and five years ago.

Up to 58 percent percent of recent graduates in the two Bay Area cities went to school in other metropolitan areas, compared to 31 percent in New York, 35 percent in Chicago and 47 percent in Seattle.

That's not to say there aren't close seconds. In Austin, a growing tech hub, 55 percent of recent graduates come from outside the city. Detroit and Washington D.C. also show high percentages.

What's driving this trend? Speaking to the New York Times earlier this year about Wall Street executives leaving financial institutions for the startup or VC life, former Goldman Sachs employee Robert Reffkin said, "Smart people go where they feel there is the most growth."

Reffkin left Goldman to found real estate startup Compass.

The Left Coast in general has a certain draw, especially for graduates of the country's highest ranked schools, according to Earnest's data. Among graduates of the top 25 colleges and universities in the Northeast as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, 25 percent moved to the West Coast. Among the same demographic in the Midwest, 20 percent made the migration.

That migration is not reciprocated; only 7 percent of recent grads from top West Coast schools reported moving to the Northeast, and 10 percent to the Midwest.

The Northeast showed itself to be a strong magnet for graduates of the top 25 schools in the south, taking a whopping 43 percent of graduates. In general, graduates of more prestigious schools were more likely to move to a new metropolitan area after graduating.

The migrations found in Earnest's data can be set in a larger context of college graduates ditching suburbs for more urban settings. That second sweeping trend manifested in increases of up to 50 percent in the number of college graduates in cities like Houston and Nashville from 2000 to 2012.

This is the first time Earnest, a two-year-old company, has conducted its study of migration of recent graduate loan applicants.

Published on: Nov 19, 2015