Relocations: Will you leave NYC for California?

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

In this post, we analyze migration data provided by the IRS.  In an earlier post, we explored the nationwide characteristics of relocation. This time we focus on a lower level and study which states are the most popular relocation destinations for people across the U.S.

From the following map, we can see that most people relocate locally, usually to the neighboring states. The obvious exceptions are Alaska and Hawaii, but even for these states, the distribution of out-migrants is non-uniform.

By exploring this map we can conclude that people tend to stay close to their previous residence, likely to live/work in a similar environment or related industry. However, looking solely at the number of people who relocate may not provide us with the full picture. As you might suspect, financial information about relocating individuals can be useful as well.

The IRS data includes the total taxable income of the migrants, which we have plotted below (averaged by the number of migrants). This value can be interpreted as the average income of people in their new place of residence.

Comparing these two maps, we begin to see the difference. For example, if we look at the state of Washington, most people move to Oregon and California. But if we look at the income map, people who relocate to New York, New Jersey or Massachusetts earn more on average. To see this from the other side, let’s look at Alaska: the most popular destinations from here are Washington, Oregon and Texas, although migrants going to Illinois and Vermont are usually better off.

In conclusion, we look at the title of or post again: leaving New York for California. Well, according to the data, you can also consider Illinois and Wyoming as possible destinations.

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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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