Where We Came From, State by State





Foreign immigration is a hot topic these days, but the movement of people from one state to another can have an even bigger influence on the United States’ economy, politics and culture. Americans have already seen this with the Western expansion, the movement of Southern blacks to Northern cities and the migration from the Rust Belt.

The patterns of migration continue to change. California ... has long been the destination of American dreamers from other states. It no longer plays that role; residents are leaving for greener pastures out East. Today, the state is still pulling in foreign immigrants, but the percentage of American-born transplants has shrunk significantly as more people leave the state. There are now about 6.8 million California natives living elsewhere, up from 2.7 million in 1980.

States in the South that have traditionally been dominated by people who were born there are seeing significant in-migration for the first time. The South used to lead the country by a wide margin with people who were born in the state where they live. Now, several Midwestern states — Iowa, Ohio, Wisconsin and, stretching toward the East, Pennsylvania — are near the top of that list.



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