Relocation patterns: recovery after recession?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Every year, millions of people in the U.S. relocate for various reasons: a job offer, family circumstances or simply striving for a change of scenery. To study relocation patterns we analyzed migration data provided by IRS. The data is based on taxpayers’ reports and is provided at the county and state level. In this post, we will focus on migration between states.

Total migration in US in 2005-2011
Total migration in the U.S. from 2005-2011

As we can see from the graph, a steep decline in the number of relocations occurred around the time of the Great Recession. The economic downturn caused many people to lose jobs or business opportunities, making longer inter-state moves less promising in terms of economic security.

The growth seen in 2011 may be a good sign since relocating to a different state requires a lot of resources. This means that the mover either has the funds and ability to relocate, or the expenses were paid by their employer. Both cases indicate a better economic situation in the country.

On the following graph, we can see how relocations are distributed across the U.S. The highest percentages of out-migrants during the time period came from Alaska (about 6 percent), Wyoming (about 5 percent) and Nevada (about 5 percent). A notable case of rising out-migration occurred in Louisiana — following the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, about 7 percent of residents left the state.

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About Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Alexander is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. He currently holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Applied Math. He has experience working for industry major companies performing research in the fields of machine learning, data mining and natural language processing. In his free time, Alexander enjoys hiking, Nordic skiing and traveling.

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