Furthermore, the study aims to investigate the extent to which decentralized higher education leads to graduates completing their higher education at the place of upbringing or in neighbouring areas.

The proximity to higher education institutions appears to be important in the choice of education and place of study. Proximity can also influence the graduates' choice of place of residence after completed education. This study is based on graduates who completed one of the following welfare educations in the academic year 2014/2015: Kindergarten teacher, teacher, nurse, social worker, psychology, and medical studies.

Decentralized higher education contributes to many welfare graduates within fields of education such as kindergarten teacher, teacher, nurse, and social work completing their education close to where they grew up. After having completed their education, many candidates in these fields of education also settle down near their place of upbringing. A few years after completion, as many as three out of four kindergarten teacher candidates resided in the same county they grew up in.

Compared to graduates within other fields of welfare educations, a lower percentage of graduates within the fields of medicine and psychology lived in the county of upbringing after completed education. Especially medical candidates settled in various parts of the country.

Compared to the other graduates, a considerable amount of welfare graduates completed their education within their own county, or at least within the same region as the county. This may reflect that welfare educations is an important part of the study options offered by many regional colleges. Additionally, a clear majority of welfare graduates resided within their own county or region both two and five years after completed education, more so than other graduates.

The majority of welfare graduates who did not reside in the place of upbringing after completed education, finished their education and resided in more populous and central (local) areas. Primarily in the so called “university towns”. An important reason behind this phenomenon, appears to be that the university towns and other central places that offer a variety of educations, have a larger capacity for students and better job offers after completed education. Therefore, counties with university towns receive a net inflow of human capital in these fields.

A greater proportion of women completed their welfare education in the county of upbringing, compared to men. It was also more common for students aged 31 or older to complete their education and remained settled in their county of upbringing.

Finally, many welfare graduates with parents lacking a completed higher education, were settled in the county of upbringing after completed education.