Interactive graphic of migration within US


But it does not show international arrivals and departures- which would be interesting. I’d wager a big number of the NY to FL migration is simply traditional retirees and that probably isn’t all that different from yeas past. Here in NY, we are more than replenished from overseas (150,000 in 2011, and those are just the legalized resident aliens).

It’s not only the high cost of living that is driving people out of California -that’s just a symptom. California is well into the middle of the process that created the Rust Belt desolation, and the symptoms are starting to appear - declining population, industries that are moving elsewhere due to high taxes and relentlessly increasing regulation, and a top-heavy, ideologically rigid, insufferably know-it-all state government riddled with corruption and cronyism. You need only look at the current bullet train project to understand the amazing levels of dysfunction in California.

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It is simply not true that more people are leaving California than are coming to California. The population of California grew by 0.8% last year.

“Much of the growth statewide was due to new births. More people continue to leave the Golden State than come in from other parts of the United States, with a net loss of around 66,000 last year.
But foreign immigrants coming into California outpaced that, with a net gain of about 84,000, according to the finance report.”

So even leaving out births, more people are coming to California than leaving it. It’s just that this graph ignores the entire world outside of the US.

Bring on the dysfunction and high cost of living! At 38 million there are too many people here as it is - the state was wonderful at 5 to 10 million, and an extra 25 million people calls for a lot of regulation and taxation to control the pollution and crime as well as providing education, utilities and public welfare.

It will take a while before the free market to work though, people are still voting for California with their pocketbooks - compare the cost of a tract house in Los Angeles to what can be purchased in Texas or elsewhere in the south. The real indicator of the desirability of a location is housing prices not the movement of people to a less expensive neighborhood or person per square mile density.

Out of curiosity, I decided to look up California’s population: it had around 5 million people in the late 1920s and around 10 million in the late 1940s.

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Bear in mind, this is internal migration. It doesn’t include births, deaths (which tends to offset internal immigration to Sun Belt states), or immigration (which is significant in gateway states like New York and California). It’s incorrect to make generalizations from this graph about net population changes in any of these states; this is all much narrower than that. This is also about more than just migration for job hunting; it’s also college education (including graduate study and professional school) and retirement.


Mmmm, not so much, with Florida. Sure, there are tons of retirees from New York here, and that actually may be a majority of them. But the chart doesn’t show you where the New Yorkers were born - and I know people who came from New York to Florida, but were born in France, Haiti, Puerto Rico, Brazil, Cuba, Canada, Trinidad, St. Lucia, and Jamaica, Spain, Israel, Morocco, etc. Keep in mind, New York is a port of entry - many people start out there. And many who find their way here were from warmer climates and the Caribbean in particular. And that bunch don’t fuss about the heat - they find New York unbearable much of the year, as I would.

Am I missing Montana or is Montana missing? Perhaps the data is missing? (Otherwise, it would seem odd to include Wyoming and not Montana.)

From the comments:

I had to set a cut-off for drawing a link between two states, because otherwise the whole graphic would look like a tangled hairball. I decided on a cut-off of 10,000 people. Vermont, Montana, and South Dakota did not have flows that large with any other states.

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According to the comments, it also includes military movements and prisoner movements.

One commenter pointed out the by having a cut-off for lines, it makes it look like the migrants are going to a limited number of states. In reality, the graph could be ignoring a large number of people:

“The migrants who leave two very cold states, Maine and Alaska, have very clear preferences. Their most popular destinations are Florida and California”

I call shenanigans on this analysis. Beware small data samples, especially with an arbitrary cutoff. True, more migrants from Alaska go to Florida and California than any other single state, but your 10,000-migrant cutoff leaves 75%+ of the migrants from Alaska unrepresented in the diagram. These states just barely make the cutoff, inflating their perceived significance over states that didn’t make the cutoff. From Maine, more than 80% of the migrants are unrepresented.

For Wyoming you have leaving = 32,228 and arriving = 31,149, but the only line shown is with Colorado where both directions is about 5600. So most migrants from Wisconsin are not included here. I am also not sure why Wyoming was included if there is a 10000 person cut-off.

I think it would be interesting to have a map of the US where you choose a state and then the map showed the percentage of that state’s population that the net migration represented. You can look at a state’s population over time using this if you are interested:

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Prop. 13. that was the end of California’s golden age.

I see that the creator of the chart was trying to make these flows more visual, but it is a definitely flawed and misleading view. A view where the lines indicated inflows and outflows would make more sense. Only by hovering can you see whether a line is inflow or outflow if the migrants remain in the same region. The 10,000 cutoff really marginalizes the flows for my favorite smaller population states (poor little Delaware).

The Census Bureau made an actual map where you can click and see flows country by county. That map also includes migration from abroad, but I am not sure it includes emigration out of the country (because how do you count those people, they left the counting area).

Of course an actual map is more physically based and less designed, and the assumptions made in its creation are less damaging than for the circle chart, while the circle chart looks prettier, perhaps.


Don’t compare it for too long though because if you want to live in the less undesirable parts of Texas it’s getting hard to do so unless you made your money some where else.

Granted there’s still plenty of cheap land in Texas, but it’s also a big state and most of it is really unimaginably crappy.

People are migrating primarily to Florida, Washington, Nevada, and Texas. I think I see a pattern here. Hmmm, what could it be? No state income tax. Many states are taxing their residents away.

We moved CA–>WA in late 2012, for a job opportunity. I spent most of my life in CA and just kind of assumed that other states had all the same problems; traffic, budget woes, underfunded schools.

Holy crap, WA is a much better place to live for about 50 reasons. I had no idea.

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Much more importantly, cheaper land. The only way you could keep putting more people into California is if you built a lot more housing in the parts of the state people most want to live in - which for a variety of (mostly political) reasons isn’t happening. Texas, on the other hand, is happy to have the population increase.

Yeah, but if that was all there was to it, people would have been leaving CA in droves decades ago. That 10-year bust cycle you have in real estate there doesn’t happen everywhere else - which made it happening on a national scale a major shock to a whole lot of people. Every time the defense contracts get blown out, a whole lot of people who had been playing the real estate pyramid game there get blown out with it - and it involves enough people to give whole housing market big kick in the shins.

You say TX is ‘cheaper’ - and that is true in general, but it’s always been true (in general) . The parts of CA nobody wants to live in are just about exactly like the parts of TX nobody wants to live in - desert. And a whole lot of it in CA was just desert, too, until it was irrigated and built out. As a kid, we could hang out in the orange groves on ou way home from school. Groves? Gone. On the weekends, you could maybe go out to the river. The amount of time it takes you to leave the populated areas is way, wayyyy longer than it was back then. Fontana was still bikers (and Frank Zappa), Moreno Valley was barely a place at all, Mission Viejo and Laguna Near Hell didn’t even exist - they were still part of those old rancho lands. If you told somebody Sonny Bono was gonna be mayor of Palm Springs some day, they’d have fallen over laughing. So - no. That argument doesn’t wash over the long haul.

I suspect that like many who live in CA (and I was the same, for a long time) feel like they’re at the center of the freakin’ universe, and everywhere else is some kind of lesser existence. It’s just not so. That illusion is firmly planted in CA. TX is different - yes. But there are people there who have that same illusion about where they are.

TX doesn’t need a fat income tax, because it taxes the oil business instead. FLuh doesn’t need one, because they’ll charge you a fee just for breathing near any county or state office. GA does - but then, property taxes are often less than you’d spend on your car registration this year in CA.

In the end? It’s all relatively…relative, and so’s the data.


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