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Moves to and From the South and West Dominate Recent Migration Flows

Population

Moves to and From the South and West Dominate Recent Migration Flows

Population

Three New Census Bureau Products Show Domestic Migration at Regional, State, and County Levels

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The South experienced a net population gain from movers coming in from other regions of the United States.

Florida received the most movers from other states.

Los Angeles County had the highest number of people moving out, but also had the highest number moving in.

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Movers to and from the South make up the largest domestic migration flows at the regional level.

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These are just a few of the highlights in three recently released U.S. Census Bureau data products on migration at different geographic levels. Migration or geographic mobility refers to the movement of people from one location of residence to another.

Movers to and from the South make up the largest domestic migration flows at the regional level. Many especially large flows at the state and county levels are in the South or in the West. Some of the largest state- and county-level flows are to or from Florida, California or Arizona.

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Net Migration, Flows and Mover Rates by Region

The 2018 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement (CPS ASEC) migration tables provide estimates for net migration, flows and mover rates by region. In 2018, 10.1 percent of people (about 32.4 million) in the United States moved within the past year. Historical tables and historical graphs show some of the CPS ASEC migration data over time.

  • Net Migration. The South continued a pattern of net population gains from domestic migration. The region experienced statistically significant net gains from domestic migration most years since 1981.

In 2018, about 1.2 million people moved to the South from another region, while only about 714,000 moved from the South to another region. This resulted in a net gain of about 512,000 people. If movers from abroad are included, the net gain from migration to the South is about 959,000 people.

  • Flows. There are 12 region-to-region migration flows and the five largest in 2018 were either to the South or out of the South.

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The South drew about 412,000 people from the Northeast, 356,000 from the Midwest, and 459,000 from the West. The region lost about 317,000 to the West and 276,000 to the Midwest.

The South to Midwest flow does not differ statistically from the Midwest to South or South to West flows, and the Northeast to South, Midwest to South, West to South, and South to West flows do not differ statistically.

The remaining seven region-to-region flows range from about 54,000 to 162,000 people.

  • Mover Rates. The Northeast had the lowest overall mover rate in 2018, at 7.7 percent. The other three regions do not differ statistically from one another, at 10.4 percent for the Midwest, 10.8 percent for the South, and 10.7 percent for the West.

Compared to the 2018 overall national mover rate of 10.1 percent, the Northeast mover rate is lower, the South and West mover rates are both higher, and the Midwest mover rate does not differ statistically.

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State-to-State Migration Flows

The 2017 American Community Survey (ACS) state-to-state migration flows table provides estimates of the number of people in the United States moving between geographies within the past year. These geographies include the 50 states and District of Columbia and abroad (including Puerto Rico).

  • Moving to Florida. Florida had the most domestic inmovers, with 566,476 people moving from another state within the past year. The states with the next highest inmigration flows are Texas with 524,511 and California with 523,131. Texas and California do not differ statistically.

New York contributed the most to Florida’s inflow with 63,722 people moving from New York to Florida. This flow is between regions, from the Northeast to the South. The second-highest contributor was Georgia with 38,800 inmovers.

  • Leaving California. California had the most domestic outmovers, with 661,026 people moving to another state within the past year.

The states with the next highest outmigration flows are Texas with 467,338 outmovers, New York with 452,580, and Florida with 447,586. Texas, New York and Florida do not differ statistically.

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Among the five states that received the most outmovers from California, several are adjacent to California or nearby: Texas (63,174 outmovers), Arizona (59,233), Washington (52,484), Oregon (50,109) and Nevada (47,513).

Texas and Washington do not differ statistically from Arizona, and Washington, Oregon, and Nevada do not differ statistically from each other. The flow from California to Texas is between regions, from the West to the South.

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County-to-County Migration Flows

The Census Bureau also produces migration flows at the county level using the ACS five-year data. Estimates for these smaller geographies are based on a pooled five-year ACS sample rather than a single year.

The 2012-2016 county-to-county flows tables provide estimates of the number of people in the United States moving within a one-year period between geographies, including counties and county equivalents (counties), minor civil divisions (MCDs) and abroad. The Census FlowsMapper tool provides visualizations of these county-to-county data.

  • County Inflows. Los Angeles County, Calif., had the highest inmigration flow, with 214,577 people moving from a different county within the past year.

After Los Angeles County, Maricopa County, Ariz. (179,178 inmovers), and Harris County, Texas (175,286), had the next highest inmigration flows, and Cook County, Ill. (138,356 inmovers), had the fourth-highest inmigration flow. Maricopa County and Harris County do not differ statistically.

Six other counties among the highest inmigration flows are: San Diego County, Calif. (120,330); Dallas County, Texas (117,129); Riverside County, Calif. (114,215); King County, Wash. (112,922); Orange County, Calif. (111,942); and San Bernardino County, Calif. (111,139).

Dallas County does not differ statistically from San Diego, Riverside, King and Orange Counties, and Riverside, King, Orange and San Bernardino Counties do not differ statistically.

Counties with high numbers of county-to-county inmigrants generally draw people from a wide geographic range.

For example, the data include inflows to Maricopa County from 1,016 different counties in the 50 states and the District of Columbia, a higher count than any other county. This represents about 32 percent of the 3,142 counties in the United States.

The data also include inflows to Los Angeles County from 828 counties and inflows to Harris County from 793.

  • County Outflows. Los Angeles County had the highest outmigration flow, with 312,000 people moving to a different county within the past year.

After Los Angeles County, Cook County (213,732 outmovers) had the second-highest outmigration flow, and Harris County (168,936) had the third-highest outmigration flow.

Seven other counties among the 10 with the highest outmigration flows are: San Diego County (152,475); Maricopa County (151,829); Dallas County (134,843); New York County, N.Y. (124,624); Kings County, N.Y. (123,101); Orange County (122,940); and King County (106,990).

San Diego and Maricopa Counties do not differ statistically, and New York, Kings and Orange Counties do not differ statistically from each other.

Similar to inmigration, counties with high numbers of county-to-county outmigrants generally send people to a wide geographic range.

For example, the data include outflows from Maricopa County to 1,228 different counties, a higher count than any other sending county. This represents about 39 percent of the 3,142 counties in the United States.

The data also include outflows from Cook County to 1,118 different counties, Harris County to 1,037, San Diego County to 1,031, and Los Angeles County to 1,108.

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Kristin Kerns and L. Slagan Locklear are statisticians in the Census Bureau's Journey-to-Work and Migration Statistics Branch.

 

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