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Who’s Moving Where: The State-to-State Edition

A state-by-state look at where people are moving.

By Matt Carmichael on November 19, 2015

Who's Moving Where: The State-to-State Edition

Net migration is a helpful stat. Which states are gaining and losing population based on more people moving in than moving out. It will show that, for instance, Illinois has lost more than 800,000 residents than it has gained since 1995. That, my friends, is bad news for the Land of Lincoln. Politically, everyone can blame this on everyone else and both sides are probably right to a certain extent because these kinds of situations are complicated.

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Meanwhile, Texas, Florida and a handful of other states continue to hoover up residents from states near and far.

So who’s moving where? For this installment, I looked at the latest state-to-state migration data from the U.S. Census Bureau. However I didn’t look at the net migration, I just looked at out-migration. For each state, I determined which state it was losing the most residents to. Again, we’re talking just out-migration so while Arizona might have lost 35,000 residents to California it also gained 57,000 from the sunshine state. But again, just looking at where people go when they leave we find some interesting trends.

Texas, California and Florida are the big winners. Ten states lose the most residents to Texas and six states each lose to California and Florida.

Where they’re coming from, however, shows some very different patterns. Texas is sucking in residents from neighboring states, likely do to perceived better economic conditions in the rapidly-growing state. California is also drawing from its neighbors, and perhaps for the same reasons as California’s economy has turned around coming out of the recession. Florida, on the other hand is likely drawing in retirees from the aging upper East coast, but also from neighboring Georgia.

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That leaves the rest of the nation. Turns out, even when people leave a state they don’t tend to go very far. Illinois and Indiana swapped residents – although Indiana gained more than it lost by almost a 2:1 margin. Connecticut residents went to New York, Kansas to Missouri and people flipped back and forth between the Carolinas. Even in migration, the grass is always greener on the other side of the border.

Here’s the full results (again, this is just out-migration, not net)

People left: and went to: How many?
Alabama Texas 8,487
Alaska California 35,200
Arizona Texas 11,926
Arkansas Texas 11,926
California Texas 63,591
Colorado Texas 18,277
Connecticut New York 14,649
Delaware Pennsylvania 5,611
Washington, D.C. Maryland 17,421
Florida Georgia 45,495
Georgia Florida 42,020
Hawaii California 12,753
Idaho Washington 12,825
Illinois Indiana 38,177
Indiana Illinois 19,221
Iowa Nebraska 7,598
Kansas Missouri 18,850
Kentucky Ohio 18,410
Louisiana Texas 23,805
Maine Florida 4,293
Maryland Virginia 28,071
Massachusetts New York 15,222
Michigan Ohio 13,480
Minnesota Wisconsin 20,758
Mississippi Texas 12,308
Missouri Kansas 22,240
Montana Washington 4,294
Nebraska Iowa 8,602
Nevada California 29,985
New Hampshire Massachusetts 11,177
New Jersey Pennsylvania 39,423
New Mexico Texas 17,262
New York Florida 58,753
North Carolina South Carolina 31,188
North Dakota Minnesota 8,587
Ohio Florida 27,438
Oklahoma Texas 25,096
Oregon Washington 26,582
Pennsylvania Florida 28,841
Rhode Island Massachusetts 9,501
South Carolina North Carolina 26,379
South Dakota Minnesota 4,339
Tennessee Texas 15,159
Texas California 38,990
Utah California 14,273
Vermont Florida 2,319
Virginia North Carolina 28,250
Washington California 32,837
West Virginia Virginia 8,620
Wisconsin Minnesota 20,375
Wyoming Colorado 5,426


Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

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