Changing Migration Patterns In The U.S.


By: Mónica Sánchez, Quantitative Story Teller | Aug. 26, 2014

The New York Times just released an interactive map of migration in the United States for 1900, 1950 and 2012. It illustrates the origin of the residents of each of the United States, by state they migrated from or by whether they were born outside the US.

Overall, both in 1900 and in 2012 there are important foreign-born segments in California, Nevada and New York with between 20% and 25% of their populations coming from abroad. But for the rest of the US, there is an important change in the migration pattern: in 1900, the states with the largest immigrant populations (with the exception of the above) were across the US northern border: from Washington to Pennsylvania, at least twenty percent of the population of each these states was born outside the US (with the exception of Idaho at 16%.) By 2012, those numbers had plummeted to the single digits except for Washington State at 15%.

Conversely, in 1900 the foreign-born population of the southern states along the Gulf Coast was negligible – Texas had the highest, at a mere 6%. By 2012 17% of Texans and 23% of Floridians had been born abroad.