2014 Atlas Migration Patterns Data–The Road More or Less Traveled

Jan 02, 2015


Why do people move? For some, it’s a career opportunity. For others, it’s a desire to be closer to family. Or it may be the lure of climate—a chance to trade gray skies and cold air for blue skies and balmy breezes.

Whatever the reasons, humans are migratory. To see the trends in their movements, Atlas evaluates the origin and destination points for the moves it books each year. These data points form a mosaic of moving patterns across the U.S. and Canada. So, what do they show?

North by North Quest . . .
Washington moves from balanced to inbound, repeating a cycle we saw in 2011 and 2012. 

Neighboring Montana, however, went from inbound to balanced, which it has been for five of the last six years. Further north, Alaska’s influx has tapered as well; the Land of the Midnight Sun finds itself in the balanced column for the second year after twelve consecutive years as inbound. 

Getting Warmer . . .
A couple of southern states experienced influxes. Mississippi became inbound after three years as a balanced state. Florida broke a nine-year streak as balanced to become inbound. However, inbound moves declined in Missouri, Vermont, and West Virginia. All were balanced in last year’s analysis; this year they are outbound. 

Notable Streaks . . .
Topping the list of most magnetic states are the District of Columbia, North Carolina, and Texas. Each has been inbound for at least ten years. With the exception of balance in 2009, Tennessee barely misses bragging rights. 

The states with the most stability appear to be South Carolina, Arizona, Arkansas, California, and Iowa. All have been balanced for at least the last ten years. Four states share the dubious distinction of being outbound for at least ten years running: Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and New York.

In Canada, Alberta and New Brunswick dropped to outbound status. The most dramatic shift occurred in the east, however, as Newfoundland leapfrogged from inbound to outbound. Notably, Ontario sees an ongoing exodus as an outbound province for ten years running.

In the northwest, Yukon is outbound for the first time since 2006, with only one move out. The only move into Yukon over the last ten years took place in 2010; during that same span, it saw four moves out.

Determining Status
Each state/province has a threshold value, which is the total number of shipments multiplied by 0.55 (for example, in a state with 100 moves, at least 55 of them would have to be outgoing to classify the state as outbound). A state/province is considered:

  • Inbound: Inbound shipments exceed threshold
  • Outbound: Outbound shipments exceed threshold
  • Balanced:  Neither inbound nor outbound shipments exceed threshold

For an infographic on the results, visit the 2014 Migration Patterns Infographic.

View the full Atlas Migration Patterns Report on our website.




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