By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog
People have been moving to Oregon in droves ever since Lewis and Clark. Migration is a key driver to our economic growth and the Northwest more broadly. That is one reason our office regularly studies and discusses migration, demographics and population growth. The Pacific Northwest Regional Economic Conference (PNREC) is today and tomorrow in Vancouver, WA. I am presenting our office’s previous report on young, college-educated migration patterns (report here, state comparison summary here). For the talk I updated the following map from a couple years ago for the latest ACS data and to fix the red-green colorblindness issues.
Note that each color on the map represents approximately 1/10th of all U.S. counties. Places that are the darkest red are more than 50% migrant, while those that are the darkest blue have hardly any migrants.
Nationally, 67% of Americans currently live in the state in which they were born (this is excluding foreign born and naturalized citizens), however in Oregon only about 50% of our population was born in the state and its even lower in our southern counties. In fact, in places like Bend, Coos Bay, Eugene, Klamath Falls, Medford, Roseburg, and many others there is a better than 50-50 chance that the next person you see was not born in Oregon. Similar patterns are seen throughout nearly all of the smaller western states.
However, across much of the U.S. people usually do not move, or at least not vary far. In the Midwest and South, the map indicates that people move one or two counties cover, which is readily apparent along state borders. Another issue along the borders is that some counties do not have hospitals. So even if your family lives in one state and you were raised there, you might have been born in a different state given that the next town over with a hospital happened to be across a state line. This does happen here in Oregon too down in Curry County on the South Coast, based on feedback from Annette Shelton-Tiderman from the Oregon Employment Department (thanks Annette).
The next map I want to create along these lines is looking at the mix of where Oregon-born, or Colorado-born, etc individuals actually live. Do most Oregonians stay in the state and our redness in the map above due to the influx of migrants? Which states have the highest or lowest rates in folks staying in place, and how do these patterns match up with in-migration trends? Stay tuned in the coming weeks for that.
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