Migration Trends Across the USA
Throughout this series on factors related to higher education enrollment, we have looked at data pertaining to the “birth dearth” in the US and population changes based on age, race and ethnicity. Another key element to understanding the future of enrollment in colleges and universities is movement of individuals between states. This blog post uses American Community Survey (ACS) migration flows data to look at net migration trends, as well as where people move from (in-migration) and move to (out-migration) by state. Although the ACS estimates include international migration, we only look at movement within the United States.
In the visualizations below, the overall net migration estimates (shown in the map on the left) from the ACS data represent the one-year estimate of how many people moved into a state minus how many people moved out of a state in 2020. For example, Texas experienced an estimated 549,994 individuals moving into the state in 2020, with an estimated 452,476 leaving the state, giving Texas a net positive migration of 97,518 in 2020. Hovering over a state on the map will change the bar charts to the right that show the top 5 states for in-migration and out-migration for that specific state.
- Across the United States, the US Census Bureau estimates that more than 7.5 million (2.3%) residents over the age of one moved from one state to a different state in 2020.
- Florida led all states with more then 626K new residents moving in during 2020, with Texas ranking second with 550K new residents, and California in third with 494K resident migrating into California.
- California was the largest loser in terms of out-migration, with almost 680K residents leaving in 2020. New York had over 464K residents leave, with Florida (457K) and Texas (453K) each having more than 450,000 residents leaving those states in 2020.
- In terms of net migration, Florida led all states with a net increase of 170,000 residents relocating from other states in 2020. Texas was second in net increase with almost 98K new residents, with Arizona experiencing a net increase of 94K individuals.
- On the other end of the spectrum, New York experienced the largest net decrease of almost 200K residents leaving New York in 2020. California (185K) and Illinois (114K) were the only other states with a net loss of more than 100K residents in the 2020 ACS data.
- Overall, Texas experienced a net migration increase from 31 states, while experiencing a net migration loss with 18 states. If you hover over the state of Texas, the right-hand bar chart shows that almost 80K people moved from California to Texas in 2020, with just over 38K leaving the Lone Star State for the Golden State. This net migration of over 40K people between Texas and California was the largest positive net migration between Texas and any other state. The largest negative net migration for Texas occurred with Oklahoma, as almost 4,900 more residents moved north across the Red River to Oklahoma than moved south from Oklahoma to Texas in 2020.
While the general state-level trends in mobility are interesting, as with most data, disaggregated data are more likely to provide opportunities for insight. Within the ACS suite of data, the Census Bureau publishes geographic mobility data that include selected characteristics, such as age, race and ethnicity, and educational attainment. In the next few blog posts, we will explore in-migration and out-migration in the state of Texas at a more granular level, seeking to uncover trends of interest to the field of higher education.