Restless America: state-to-state migration in 2012

Approximately 7.1 million Americans moved to another state in 2012. That’s over 2.2% of the U.S. population. The United States has a long history of people picking up and moving their families to other parts of the country, in search of better livelihoods. That same spirit of mobility, a willingness to uproot oneself, seems alive and well today based on the visualization of migration patterns above.

The visualization is a circle cut up into arcs, the light-colored pieces along the edge of the circle, each one representing a state. The arcs are connected to each other by links, and each link represents the flow of people between two states. States with longer arcs exchange people with more states (California and New York, for example, have larger arcs). Links are thicker when there are relatively more people moving between two states. The color of each link is determined by the state that contributes the most migrants, so for example, the link between California and Texas is blue rather than orange, because California sent over 62,000 people to Texas, while Texas only sent about 43,000 people to California. Note that, to keep the graphic clean, I only drew a link between two states if they exchanged at least 10,000 people.

I saw a few interesting things in this graphic:

  • First, there are more people leaving California than there are arriving there. 566,986 people left the Golden State in 2012, for states like Texas, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona, presumably for the lower cost of living.
  • New York also shows more people leaving than arriving. The most popular destination for New Yorkers is Florida. My hunch is that these are retirees. The next most popular destinations are New Jersey and Pennsylvania. More likely these folks are leaving pricey New York City for more affordable suburbs in neighboring states.
  • Migrants are flocking to Florida. Interestingly the state contributing the most migrants to Florida is neighboring Georgia. Texas, New York, and North Carolina are the next largest contributors.
  • Texas is the second-largest destination for migrants. Over 500,000 people moved to Texas in 2012. People tend to come from the Southeast, Southwest, and the West, with the biggest contributor being California. 62,702 Californians packed up and moved to the Lone Star state in 2012.
  • Most people leaving DC tend to stay in the area, opting for Virginia or Maryland. The economy of DC, centered around the federal government, seems to discourage more distant migrations.
  • The migrants who leave two very cold states, Maine and Alaska, have very clear preferences. Their most popular destinations are Florida and California.


  1. Nobody leaves Vermont?

    • Chris Walker says:

      They absolutely do (and many move to Vermont as well). 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.

      • Any chance you could do a separate chart for those states and the 50 states that they go to?

      • Well what would be may actually be more useful would have the lines based on percentages of total immigrants, with only the highest percentages (10% or more, for example) having representative lines. That way we’d see where Vermontonians (?) go when they migrate. Because even though there may not be 10,000 that move to any one place, maybe 90% of them go to North Dakota, which would be interesting to know (with the spirit of your graphic in mind).

      • Just wondering what was the cut off of population movement. Because my family and I moved from Virginia to Massachusetts

        • You lucky dog!

        • Why the knock on ‘ole Va Pam? I transferred here from Ohio in 1987, and, other than soon becoming a snow bird, (my destination is still unknown, but it will be warm in the winter), I consider myself to have all three of these…………………… soul, friends, and culture.

      • Jan Walton says:

        I was wondering the same, thank you. I’m a native Californian who bought land in Vermont.

    • Sean Costillo says:

      Socialists love the People’s Republic of Vermont, so they stay.

      • Probably the same reason that the people in Scandinavian countries are constantly polled as the happiest most satisfied peoples in the world — you have no point.

        • The people in Scandinavia are also the world’s most socially mobile. The people born of poor dads have the best chance of moving up the economic ladder. If you want the American Dream, move to Denmark.

        • Well, didn’t Norway used to have the highest suicide rate? My stepmothers Norwegian-American millionaire brother just committed suicide in Alaska. At least he never moved to Florida where I live. I just hope we aren’t committing suicide here because we are running out of water. .

      • Call it what you will, but Vermont also has the strongest gun rights in the USA. So they’re less of a “People’s Republic” than your state in that regard.

      • I am so ready to split this country in half so you mad TeaPots can feed off of each other and leave civilization alone.

        • I agree. Then you and Bill can live in the national socialist slave state you both crave and leave the civilized American’s alone in freedom and liberty. BTW, all the food is in Tea party owned flyover country.

          • Nacy Palmer says:

            Vermont was the first state to declare its independence from England. They wrote their constitution in 1777 and were the 14th state to join the colonies after they confederated. They were the first Republic to join the union, not Texas. Moreover, this “liberal” state has gun laws that allow anyone to carry concealed without a license.They believe the Second Amendment is crucial to a free state. But more to the point, all yhour “civilized” Americans can’t be left alone. Why? Because they would starve to death! The Tea Party states (including virtually all of the South) are beggar states. They get more from the Federal Government than they put in. Every single year. Without money pouring in from the Feds, they would grind to a halt and be crying out to the United Nations for relief! And the “fly over states?” If the Dept of Agriculture stopped paying $billions in aid to the agrigiants in those states, those states would also become big fans of “socialism” because that’s what they are already getting. And finally, your “civilized” states rank the lowest in education and health care, and highest in infant mortality and D-I-V-O-R-C-E! So, get off your high horse and pull your head out of that dark place where you keep it and wake the F up!

            “A claim made without either proof or substantial argument is merely the mindless blathering of the ignoramus.”

            Benjamin Franklin

          • Absolutely…can’t live with ‘em so get rid of ‘em!

          • Sorry – California, a completely Democratic government, feeds the nation. The Tea Party states agricultural welfare kings live off government subsidies and ethanol.

          • Do you mean all of the animal feed and soy beans? That’s what you find in “flyover country”. If you mean Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Germany, France, Canada – those socialist states? – they’re pretty civilized. If you mean National Socialism, that died with Hitler.

          • #1 agricultural state in the union is California.

          • Nacy………your reply to toaster crisp is beautiful. Full of facts and details. But……….. I should warn you…………in dealing with people like TC, #1…..they make up their facts as they go along, (or pass along something that’s unsubstantiated from faux news, etc…….., and, #2…..if they DO read your thoughtful and fact filled response, it will go in one ear, and out the other, because they don’t care about facts, (and, there is nothing between those same ears to catch your thought’s), anyway.

          • YAY! I’m so glad this discussion has devolved into a Red Team vs Blue Team fight. Plus, a bonus mention of Hitler! Thanks, Jim Young, for proving Godwin’s Law.

        • Mad Tea pots are the only real true, constitutional Americans left. The rest of you assholes are commie pigs! I hate anyone who is against “original intent” of the constitution.Stupid bastards cam’t even see your country fading away.

      • SO? What’s your point…Socialists are happy? Well, duh.

      • A “socialist” and successful state like Vermont is preferable to the communist type rule that the right-wing is trying to impose on our country. It’s easy to tell you’re not a woman or any color other than white. Hopefully your kind will never take over the country and finish turning it into a Third World Country.

        • Absolutely “Right On” Cheryl. I live in a state where they wanted to make it mandatory to stick a 10 inch probe up a woman’s vagina as a precursor to an abortion. It was removed by the repub governor, because he had higher political ambitions. Alas for him, now he is caught up in a major state and federal level probe, into his taking of gifts from a company for political favors. They’ve caught him red handed, so he’s another tea party politician who’s cooked his own goose. Your dealing with people who would enact such invasions of a woman, as a state law. 2014 is the year that this horrible political anomaly will disappear. We must make this happen. Anything less is just too scary to consider.

        • “the communist type rule that the right-wing is trying to impose”????????????????
          Utterly,Totally laughable statement. Progressive propaganda here. Accuse your
          opponents of that which you are doing. Its one of Alinskis rules I believe.
          Another Alinski tact, ridicule your opponent.
          Cheryl, you are an AIRHEAD!

    • That’s what I thought! There are only 47 States on the map. Where are the other three? No Vermont, no South Dakota, no Montana. No one moves in or out of these States? I KNOW that’s not true!

  2. Great piece, Chris. I’m in Hampshire, England. (No “New”s :-) . The overall trend seems to be that very few states have a net influx: indeed, a handful states in the southeast and southwest (Texas, Florida and Georgia chief among them) account for the bulk of the net immigrations. I notice also that New Mexico has a deficit: are folks fleeing Walter White (perhaps taking him for a real character)?! :-)

    • Chris Walker says:

      Thank you! I’d love to do a post about England soon. Very astute–you’re correct that Texas and Florida account for much of the net inflow (I just did a quick calculation and the net inflow of those two states accounts for over a third of all net inflows). Also, love the Breaking Bad reference :) .

      • Ace :-) . I see from your About Me page that you’re probably onto The Guardian’s Big Data meme: there’s a lot there that you can play with, that’s for sure (, and for example). Another couple of sites I like are NationMaster (, and for example) and MIT’s OEC ( — veritable treasure-troves of data.

        As for Walter: what can I say? :-) Tell you what, there might be data to be mined and visualised from Breaking Bad itself.. — just a thought!

        Keep up the good work, and good luck settling further in India etc..

  3. Really cool. Are any other years available? Would there be a way to normalize by state population?

    • Chris Walker says:

      Thanks! Yes the Census has data online going back to 2005, so historical comparisons are possible but not that far back. Normalization is a good question. It would definitely be interesting to see what fractions of state populations migrate in/out, especially for the smaller states. Instead of link thickness being weighted by volume, they could be weighted by percentage of the state population.

  4. I work in public finance, and this would be an amazing poster for my office! Are you thinking of making one? If not, would you be opposed to me printing it, if I put your name at the bottom?

  5. thanks for sharing – this is fantastic especially for those of us who are visually oriented!

  6. I’ve read that California’s population is still growing because of people coming in from other countries. It would be interesting to see that piece of information included somehow, as well.

    • Chris Walker says:

      This is a very insightful point. An interesting future post might be to break-out state population changes into net domestic migration, immigration from abroad, and births/deaths.

  7. Thanks for sharing this visualizaiton, it is spectacular. I saw the Census do a presentation at a conference on migration flows and saw a demostration of their Census Flows Mapper (, which is a visualization of county migration patterns.

    • Chris Walker says:

      Thanks for the link, this is awesome. I didn’t know they had county-level data. This could lead to some really interesting insights at the metro level.

      • Yes…definitely. I would also be interested in seeing if there are any significant emigration too ! Thanks for your work on this

  8. This is really cool. I am curious though how many of the state-to-state moves are military. The article discusses the possible hunt for warmer weather or lower cost of living but I believe military personnel may represent a significant percentage of moves in states with military bases and a relatively lower population. Thank you to those who worked on this interesting project.

    • Chris Walker says:

      You’re spot-on that military movements are included here. Prisoner movements are also included. Unfortunately the Census data didn’t break out people into categories/groups, as far as I could tell.

  9. Is there a way to tell which way migrants are flowing within regions (that are the same color)? For example, I can’t tell which direction the flow between Colorado and California runs. Thanks!

    • Chris Walker says:

      The best way to see state-to-state exchanges would be to hover your mouse over a link. If you pause a second then a detail should pop-up showing the volume going in each direction.

      • dennis foley says:

        I get an impression that there is a tendency of southeasterners to move within the southeast. More so than within other regions. Do you think that is true? If so, is that because of a stronger regional identity?

      • N.B. The links appear to be colored in the color of the state with the larger number of emigrants. Since regions are all colored the same, this can tell you at a glance which states are becoming more region-origin-diverse, provided you accept Chris’s definition of “region”. Pretty cool!

  10. A really great and informative post. What software did you use to make the graphic?

  11. I notice that South Dakota seems to be missing, and only count 48 states. Which other one is missing?
    Is it because they had less than 10K migrations?

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  13. Am I seeing a political correlation in the chart? It seems that people from states such as the Carolinas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida are moving mostly between each other (Red states to Red states) and avoiding the Blue states.

    • This may be an exception, but I live in WA and noticed we have more Texans coming in than we have Washingtonians going to Texas. Not only is one very blue and one very red, but the weather in the two states is completely different. It’s quite interesting.

      • Matt,
        There are places in Texas, such as Austin, that are Blue. The Republicans have gerrymandered the place to make it more difficult for Democrats to gain power but Texas does have some “Blueness”. I think that’s true of a number of states in the South as well. I also live in Washington but I grew up in Tennessee. Tennessee is staunchly Red now but I wonder what kind of economic condition it would be in if the TVA and all that hydroelectric power hadn’t been made available under a “Socialist” program in the 1930′s under that awful socialist president FDR!

  14. Excellent graphic, but you need more data to support your textual suppositions.

    A good example is New York State — There is a lot more to New York State than New York City — If you looked deeper, looked at county-level statistics, you’d find that the New York State residents leaving for states other than New Jersey or Connecticut are not from the NYC area but from update and Western New York, places like Buffalo and Rochester.

  15. The only people that move to Kansas are from Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri. And Kansas people only move to Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri.

    And Nebraska people only move to Iowa. And Main people only move to Florida.


  16. Jennifer Woodcock-Medicine Horse says:

    Geez, I am reminded of the hoary phrase, ‘the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence”. As a Montanan, I first looked for our wedge, and was perplexed to find it missing – as well as Vermont and S Dakota – instead of eliding these states, it would be more meaningful to include them, but without the connectors, which would clearly indicate the low in/out migration levels – which is interesting information in itself.

  17. Splendid work! It was a bit surprising to discover that there were more people leaving Hawaii than going to it.

    I would love to have had some kind of =/- indicator outside the circle, next to each state name, as a percentage of its inflow/outflow. I keep hovering over those names, looking at the numbers and doing that mental arithmetic (hmm… West Virginia… almost identical numbers of immigrants and emigrants…)

  18. Great work! New Mexico seems like a very interesting outlier in the Sun Belt. I realize it’s always lagged behind its neighbors in population growth but the difference seems more pronounced in 2012 (please correct me if it just mirrors previous years). Regardless, what are some explanations for this?

    • Cuts in Federal spending, and their ripple effect on NM, and GOP Gov. Martinez has done little to attract Private Sector Jobs, in spite of her CUTS to the Corp. Tax Rates and other Corporate Welfare Hand-Outs, it will take another 10 years of Progressive growth to be where we were .

  19. Fantastic graphic. Great insights. Could you make the same graphic with migrants as a % of population. This way you would not need a cut off. This in addition to the previous comments of % of inflow will give a better sense of the stability quotient of a state.

  20. I wonder if Florida would have a net positive flow if you include people dying, i.e. people go there to retire and leave in a box.

    • Chris Walker says:

      That’s an interesting question. Overall population change is an interesting topic that I’d like to cover in the future.

  21. Great visualization! I posted about your work in the ACS Data Users Group forum ( A question came up as to how you created this graphic. I saw your reference to javascript. Can you provide a bit more info that I can repost?

    • Chris Walker says:

      Hey Cliff, I utilized a JavaScript library called D3.js ( that allows you to create really powerful interactive data visuals. It was created by Michael Bostock who is currently at the New York Times graphics desk. A lot of those really cool New York Times interactive graphics you’re probably familiar with were created with D3.js. The library is open source and there is a strong developer community.

    • For the geezers among us who have difficult discerning which colors indicate coming or going, a nice bar code would be appreciated :)

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  23. Thanks, Chris for the info. This is an interesting piece. After living across the U.S. and just returning from the Atlanta area, my husband and I decided to return to Michigan after being gone for 10 yrs down South. Many thought we were wrong to leave a warm climate and cheaper environment for what they thought was a much more expensive, colder, scarier area of the country. As mentioned, do to corporate moves we have lived all over but, I can truly say that Michigan is the most beautiful state with some of the best food and friendliest people I have met.
    Glad to be back home.

    • Chris Walker says:

      Thanks Kate, I really like hearing these anecdotes to add depth to the data. I think everyone caught in the swirl of that graphic has a place that will always be home, like Michigan is for you. Michigan sounds like a fantastic place, and I’m glad you made it back!

  24. My #1 goal in life is to relocate to northern New England, and currently, I’m stuck in North Carolina. I hope you’ll add the +1 when I make my move.

  25. Pingback: More Still Leaving Michigan Than Coming - City-Data Forum

  26. “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.

  27. very interesting! But no Montana?

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  29. This is a tremendous graphic that I will be using to help some people that I work with understand why we need to make some better business decisions, (our population is in decline). One observation, the numbers are expressed using two decimal places. I found it more difficult to read. Thanks for all of your hard work!

  30. Excellent. One suggestion: some contextual stats in the popup would help. Perhaps the percentage of the state’s entire population, or the ratio of exits to entrance?

  31. ContumaciousK says:

    What I have found enlightening is that no-one seems to migrate or emigrate to the US of A… Or is this based US passport GIS info from NSA?

    • Chris Walker says:

      That would be very interesting data to look at for a future post. I suspect the State department might have the data.

  32. What about Vetmont?! Burlington was just ranked as the No. 1 city to raise a family in, and many do!! We haven’t seceded yet… lol!

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  34. I’m surprised that the state income tax hasn’t been mentioned as a huge draw to Texas or Florida. They are the only sunshine states with no state income tax, which means if you’re considering retiring or just buying a vacation home and listing it as your primary residence, it makes a huge impact on your net income. I

    • Sorry, but Nevada has no income tax either and never will. State income tax is prohibited by the Nevada Constitution.

    • Nate Tungsten says:

      As noted above, the in-out flow between Texas and California is more or less even. Are you surprised that the taxation and politics of California haven’t been mentioned as a huge draw from Texas? A lot of political memes die screaming in this graph.

  35. I believe this info graphic represents more of an asthetic choice than a functional choice. The amount of ink to data seems hard to follow I think plotting this on a horizontal plane with input and out put on the opposing verticals would be more successful

  36. Chris.. I love this as it is a great compliment to an article I just wrote about Michigan’s latest migration data. All I was capable of were a couple charts and graphs.

    • Chris Walker says:

      Very cool, Kurt! Your tables are easy to understand, especially because they’re sorted in order of increasing values. Very useful for a quick glance and take-away.

  37. You missed Puerto Rico were they’ve lost over 1/2 million people. Would be great if you would include the US territories. They count too.

  38. Matthew Porter says:

    As an up-and-coming scientific data analyst/programmer, I’m curious about what piece of software/programming you use to create impressive images like this. R, Cytoscape, JMP?

  39. Nice job! This must have taken a long time to build this. It would be cool to see the data based on percentage of state population (vs absolute numbers). Then, it would be cool to be able to do this for a half dozen or so census years. That is, select a state, see the 2012 data, but then have a bar with the other available years and be able to click “play” and see the migratory changes over the decades. Not to mention being able to visualize the direction of the migration paths…

  40. So most states are losing people to a few states.

  41. Thank you so much for this. I wonder if for the less populous states, or even for every state, it would be possible to show the number of people leaving as a percentage of population. Montana, South Dakota (not shown for reasons outlined above) and Wyoming all have relatively small populations. So I do wonder, if it would change things.

  42. Edwin Tufte-ism at its best! That’s a very cool representation of data.

  43. I love it. I would be interested in seeing the recent states rankings from best to worst in there…I am sure it will most likely follow the trend.

    • And a ranking by level of “individual freedom” (low regulation, low taxes, etc.)

      • Actually, many of the “best state” rankings are based on the studies done by low-tax/low-reg advocacy groups like the Tax Foundation, so they amount to the same thing.

      • To be fair, the “level of freedom” would also have to include federal subsidies that fund the state’s freedom–specifically the change from state-generated funding (through taxes, and regulatory fees) to the federal dole. Red states tout independence, but take from the taxpayer far more than they contribute. Love this graphic, Chris. It’s brilliant!!

  44. Interesting – but it would be even more interesting to add migration from abroad. My suspicion is that a lot of the NY and CA negatives are because people tend to arrive in NYC or LA, where there are large immigrant communities, but then move elsewhere as they or their children become more integrated and able to build ties beyond the community (or, alternatively, because immigrant housing demand helps to keep prices high, and thus makes staying comparatively less attractive than other parts of the US, both for immigrants and natives).

    Of course, there’s also the jobs effect. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when immigration reform passes and suddenly 10% of CA’s workforce is free to start legal businesses, start earning mainstream rather than black market wages, etc., and increasing consumption accordingly. Texas, NY, NJ, AZ, and NV should also see an interesting boost there.

    • Chris Walker says:

      Hey Joseph, international migration would certainly be interesting to look at. I am not sure what the data will show and I’m hesitant to speculate, but I think your hypotheses are valid. I’m planning to do a future post on this topic.

  45. Chris Merlin says:

    Your Graph / Map is fantastic, thank you so much for compiling it. Although it shows a lot of people moving to Texas, there is also a mass exodus from there.interesting, as radical as Texas is it must be a human balancing act.

    • Chris Walker says:

      Thanks Chris, and I agree Texas will be a very interesting state to watch from a demographics perspective over the next several years!

  46. For DC, I think the data is skewed by the fact that the city’s suburbs are located in other states. I think you’d see the same patterns if you did an analysis of intra-state migration in any other city.

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  48. MacDaddyWatch says:

    Although beyond the scope of the analysis, it sure would be interesting to chart the net tax revenue receipt/loss consequences of the moves. The resulting flow of funds would reveal what states really get hurt and who benefits.

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  54. Ubuntu/Chrome here. Does not appear to work. In particular, this does not appear to be the case: “Then mouseover a link to see the number of people moving between your selected state and another state.”

  55. I wonder how much of this could be attributed to military. While active duty soldiers are permitted to keep their state residency of where they originated, family members are not given the same option. Fort Hood TX is the largest base in the U.S. When my husband was stationed there I had to become a resident to get a drivers license, and my son to attend school. Just pointing out that not all the moves may have been chosen by the folks moving.

  56. As a Vermonter, I find it very disappointing that you did not include our state. When I travel South, I am often asked by US Citizens if Vermont is in Canada. Doesn’t say much about peoples’ geography literacy. But I am experiencing anecdotally a lot of people moving out of Vermont and last year was the first year in VT’s history that there were more people leaving VT than coming into it. There is currently an exodus of people, especially Healthcare Providers, due to VT’s enactment of Act 48, which is a law setting up Single Payer Healthcare in VT by 2017. There is speculation that there will be a lot of people coming into the state who are sick, while more young, healthy people will be leaving the state. Since VT also has the highest public sector employees (especially government employees) per capita than any other state, it would also be interesting to see a visual representing people who are private sector, vs. public sector and their migration patterns. Also, taxpayers vs. non-taxpayer migration too.

  57. Chris great job. Very informative graphic and supporting data. It would be interesting to discover the predominant age groups moving in and moving out of each state and the reasons they move. Keep up the excellent work Chris.

  58. Could not find “The Last Best Place” on the graph…Montana.

  59. I will tell you where most Vermonters move because I live here. Florida, New Hampshire, Mass, and California

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  63. Edward Tufte, author of a number of books on data visualization, would approve. This is a remarkably elegant graphic, especially with the mouse-over drill-down feature.

  64. Better think twice about your lifestyle and political views before you go ANYWHERE! I’m not leaving California on a bet! It’s Blue, has legal same-sex marriage, intelligence, unlike Civil War mentality Texas, and it’s got a livable climate. Need I say any more?

  65. Great work!! I am just wondering what software did you use to make the vis?

  66. Ruth Duemler says:

    I left So.California because they are running out of water and what they have is not drinkable—it is only going to get worse—-I tell my Calif. daughter she is drinking her neighbor’s urine so now she buys delivered water but it probably comes from same tap—–nice graph—-

  67. What about Connecticut? It’s challenging. Yet, we have water. Nice graphics.

  68. I did not read all the replies, but i wish there were a way to differentiate between immigration and emigration by state. It would be nice to be able to mouse over a line and see the number it represents. It was suggested that a second graph be drawn for those states that did not have populations of 10,000 moving. this is a fantastic visualization.

  69. I’ve gone through this graph several times, and can’t find Montana, even in the Eastern states.

  70. So, where is New England in there?

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  72. Arnold Simmel says:

    I don’t know how easily income data is available, but in this day of the remarkable flow of money to those who have it, some statistics from different states would be interesting. Long ago I found in one state (which shall be nameless) that the counties with most rich people also had the most poor. I suspect those in the middle move most, but it would be interesting what differences there are in this respect.

    The references to socialism would make it interesting to categorize states by the degree to which they are devoted to “socialistic practices” like public works (Road and bridge building, public water and utilities, pollution control, sewage systems, public transportation), health and old age and unemployment insurance, and whether people are moving to or away from the more socialistic states.

    OBVIOUSLY–the more we an make information available and understandable, the more rational we could make our government. You visualization is terrific!

  73. Julie Buckley says:

    and again – no Montana!

  74. No chart visible.

  75. I’d like to see what an international map looked like.

  76. Mitchell Zimmerman says:

    The links don’t distinguish between incoming and outgoing?

  77. does not render correctly. resizing is totally hosed.

  78. A very intellectual exercise. As usual, it turns into a left – right thing. Every topic seems to, nowadays. I would prefer to look at it as it is. Data that represents folks moving to look for opportunity or a better situation. Also, a good number of retirees, looking for warmth. All looking for the American Dream.

    • The warm weather is the priority, but as I grew older, and realized who I was, my partner and I got married here in CA after 32 years. I got full insurance coverage this year and I’ve been out here for 42 years from NY, I’ll migrate to a different part of the state. Florida was an idea, though.

  79. I hate when LiberalLefty speculate on things without knowing all the dirty details why folks leave and move. What I know for sur from 66 years on this crazy planet is the devil in the details.

  80. Sten Hubinette says:

    How about a graph showing people leaving the country, and where to, long term and temporary moves?

  81. Kathy Noble says:

    So, what happened to Montana?!!! Did Montana succeed from the nation without anyone noticing?

  82. You could handle international migrations by adding another color. You could either add international to the ring, or put it in the center. You could use yellow or violet for international.

  83. any international data? US citizens leaving to other countries, by state? segmentation in smaller groups would be fantastic as well. especially for the smaller states, where the proportions and impact are at least as significant.

  84. Jeff Schumacher says:

    What about South Dakota? Don’t see it on your graph.

  85. Douglas Raybeck says:

    Chris – Many thanks for the work that went into this. I am an anthropologist and this will be used in one of my courses. It is a valuable and accessible indication of some of the problems that beset this country.

    • Thanks for this comment, Douglas. I’d be very interested to hear a little about how the piece will be covered in class, e.g., what theories or research findings it will support (or refute).

  86. I was expecting to see a mass migration from NY to CO. My daughter is moving there next moth, ans at least six of her friends have moved there in the last 2 years. Another intends to move there later this year. Is this just an anomaly?

  87. Shows mainly a net incoming and outgoing in Minnesota except for North Dakota, I presume because of the Bakken field, and Arizona, presumably retirees seeking a warmer clime.

  88. Great graphic, with one key exception re movement between states in the same region. E.g. it’s not clear whether Pennsylvanians are moving to New York and New Jersey, or vice-versa.

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  90. Am I reading the chart correctly? It looks as if the lines are arranged within a state’s bar in ascending order left to right by the number of outward migrants. So Texas got more Californians than any other state. Right?

  91. Patty Becker says:

    The problem with this clever graphic is that I can’t get it completely on my screen, so when I click on Michigan I can’t see where those lines end up. Frustrating. Maybe it could be a little smaller, or another window, or something? (If this is already addressed in the 147 comments above, I apologize — I’m working with no heat in my office and can’t read through them all!)

  92. Is Vermont Not a state anymore?

  93. “First, there are more people leaving California than there are arriving there. 566,986 people left the Golden State in 2012, for states like Texas, Nevada, Washington, and Arizona, presumably for the lower cost of living”

    Not true. California grew last year, and the number of people moving into the state was greater (slightly) than the number leaving. It’s just that you are ignoring international immigration.

  94. I JUST GET A BLANK PAGE WHERE THE CHART SHOULD BE, call your webmaster to fix it.

  95. Many people moved to Hawaii for better weather and the possibility of living the good life, less stress and lots to do. The problem arises that many of these people do not realize the differences they will encounter. Costs are higher, electric cost is outrageous, gasoline higher and so on. Jobs are harder to get, especially for those who will not or can not change occupations to something more tourist-centric. Many people have visited the islands and think they understand what it is like to LIVE here. being waited upon and eating out is completely different from heading to the dump and putting up with increased traffic on days the boat come in. It is very different being a tourist from serving them.

  96. Dan Latner says:

    Great graphic, but for some reason is it “justified Right” beyond the edge of my screen and I can’t see all of the names of the states on the right, including my own. Tried a couple of browers. :(

  97. Adding a directionality indicator like an arrow to each connector would help.

  98. I love your unusual graphic. This may be a dumb question, but how do we tell if a line is people moving out or moving in? I could not figure that one out. I am a New Yorker who moved to California in 1977 and plan to stay the rest of my life.

  99. “First, there are more people leaving California than there are arriving”

    This has been true for a very long time, but I suspect the net population of California is on the rise. This chart does not take into account people moving to California from other countries. California is like an entry point for a lot of immigrants to this country. Even though more people leave California for other US states, California’s population grows (due to immigration).

  100. Ty Slothrop says:

    Chris ~ first, thank you for this wonderfully informative graphic. A couple of brief comments.

    1. Without foreign immigration included, the graph is possibly misleading , i.e. CA is not losing population but is neutral or even gaining. (I just saw that someone has recently made a similar comment.) The flip side of this is outmigration. I read recently where there were about 60,000 ex-pats living in Ireland. If true that is a staggering number.
    2. Your note on DC raises a couple of points. One is that post 9-11 the Federal Government expanded its security operations (both independent contractors as well as gov’t. employees) but for safety reasons intentionally spread them out into neighboring states. Also, since the DC government is Federally controlled, while a culturally desirable city to live in, it is not without its problems.
    3. I have no idea how you would do this but one has only to read the comments to see that there is a strong polarizing effect taking place politically with the rise of a successful hard right movement. It would be interesting to see if one party or the other is having an impact on migration flows where it is clear that the state government has taken a veto-proof majority like say NC has recently. In other words, are people moving into like-minded states where the government reflects their values or conversely are people motivated strictly by economic concerns.
    4. With respect to FL and NC there is a symbiotic relationship due to the proximity and favorable tax structure of FL but the desire to live in western NC. This creates a significant out migration from FL (primary residence) into NC (so-called ‘secondary residence’) for just under the tax-driven cut-off of six months. This is probably not an isolated case and would have an impact on the causes behind the flows and may in part speak to my prior point as well.

    Again, great work! Would love to hear your thoughts and look forward to seeing further iterations of this piece.


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  104. Is there a program you’ve used to make this figure? Or have you written your own scripts to do so? I would love to know how it’s done!

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  109. What type of graph software did you use to build the flows? It´s terrific!

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  116. Great graphic, nice work.

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  125. cant see the graphic!

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