You know how people on the coasts like to call the entire interior of the country the “fly-over states,” and then the residents of those states punish them by voting for Republicans?

Click on the image for the American Migration Interactive Map
Well, through this Interactive Migration Map from Forbes’ Jon Bruner, you can check out just where people are picking up and moving to in the U.S., and just where they’re doing it from. Click on any individual county in the map and you’ll see both.

So are coastal people actually “flying over” the interior of the country when they move some place new? Well, click on San Francisco, for example, and you’ll see that many folks in 2009 did indeed come from the eastern perimeter. In terms of outbound migration, however, you see a pretty good cluster moved to, of all places, Texas. And 22 people re-lo’d to Oklahoma City.

Here’s Bruner’s explanation of his data visualization, plus the analysis of four experts.

My interactive visualization, based on IRS data, illustrates (patterns) by tracing inward and outward moves for every county in the country. Each move had its own motivations, but in aggregate they ­reflect the geographical marketplace during the boom and bust of the last decade: Migrants flock to Las Vegas in 2005 in search of cheap, luxurious housing, then flee in 2009 as the city’s economy collapses; Miami beckons retirees from the North but offers little to its working-age residents, who leave for the West. Even fast-growing boomtowns like Charlotte, N.C., lose residents to their outlying counties as the demand for exurban tract-housing pushes workers ever outward.


Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks writes mostly on film for KQED Arts. He is also an online editor and writer for KQED's daily news blog, News Fix. Jon is a playwright whose work has been produced in San Francisco, New York, Italy, and around the U.S.

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