I feel for my Texas friends suffering amid blackouts caused by record-breaking cold, ice and snow.
Why mention this stormy weather? It seems whenever Californias on the wrong side of Mother Nature such as bad wildfires some folks want to talk migration patterns.
Scary weather events might be a factor in some relocations, but Im willing to bet climate doesnt prompt many Texans or Californians to move out.
Why? Because when you look at migration or a per-capita basis, what seem like eye-catching total departure figures are actually tiny shares of the two states giant populations.
Let me explain using my trusty spreadsheet, which analyzed U.S. Census Bureau interstate migration data between 2017 and 2019, the latest years available.
Texas lost 1.4 million to other states in those three years, ranking it No. 2 for nationwide exits and right behind guess who? California with 2 million exits.
Note that Texass 28 million residents make it the nations second-most populated state. Those 1.4 million departures in 2017-19 translate to losing 1.6% of residents on average per year. Only Michigan (1.3%) had a lower exit rate.
California, the nations population leader at 39 million residents, had an annual per-capita exit rate of 1.7% third-best among the states. Compare that with national trends 2.3% of people made interstate moves, on average, between 2017-19.
Yes, despite all you hear about a great exodus from the Golden State, theres historically been a below-average chance a Californian was moving to another state.
Now the intersection of climate and population flow is a noteworthy trend.For example, four of the six states with the highest exit rates are places known for chilly climates.
The second-highest exit rate was found in Alaska where an average 6.1% of its population departed in each of those three years. No. 4 was North Dakota at 4.5%; No. 5 was Wyoming at 4.4%; No. 6 was Colorado at 3.5%.
By the way, the top spot for exits was the District of Columbia at 8.5%, but thats likely tied to the ever-changing political climates.
Exits arent just about the chill. The third-highest exit rate? Tropical Hawaii at 4.8%.
PS: Why all the talk about troubling California population patterns?
Well, despite the fair climate, the state cant get enough folks from other states. That results in ugly net outmigration, a big reason the states overall population is stagnant.
California had 1.5 million folks arrive from other states in 2017-19, 500,000 short of departures. So newcomers averaged just 1.3% of Californias population, the nations worst rate of attraction.
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