Mapping the Census Flow

County to County Net Migration 2007-11 Laramie WY

Americans are on the move.  About 20,000 more people moved from Los Angeles County, California, to nearby San Bernardino County, than in the opposite direction in 2007-2011.  The US Census Bureau has released new migration statistics based on their American Community Survey 5-year running average.  While I really don’t trust ACS for smaller, especially rural, places, the new numbers do offer some interesting insights.

Here in Cheyenne, Wyoming, my own Laramie County gained approximately 218 more people than we lost moving to and from next-door neighbor Larimer County, Colorado. We gained the second highest amount from Macomb County, Michigan (north suburbs of Detroit), with 192 more in than out.  Santa Barbara County, California, offered up 188 net residents, and 114 more people moved from Fremont County, Wyoming, then moved from Laramie County there.  On the flip side, 251 more people moved to Natrona County (Casper), Wyoming, then moved here.  Laramie County had a net deficit of 197 with Weld County (Greeley), Colorado, 163 with Campbell County (Gillette), Wyoming, and 162 with Maricopa County (Phoenix), Arizona.  Yes, according to ACS we’re loosing more than we’re gaining.

The overall data files are pretty bulky to work with—the “All-Flows” text file clocks in at 102Mb.  Census also is offering up a Flash-based “Census Flows Mapper“.  It doesn’t work on my Mac at home, which may be a good thing because I would just play on it all night, easily clicking counties on and off.  You can also control for variables including educational attainment, household income, and personal income.  Check out some of these maps across the county at Atlantic Cities.  Just remember the deeper in the weeds you get, the higher the ACS error is likely to get.


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