U.S. Department of Commerce

Geographical Mobility/Migration

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Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Where do I get net internal and international migration used in the Intercensal Population Estimates?
  2. Do you have estimates of the number of U.S. residents who move overseas?
  3. Do you have migration projections?
  4. Do you have county-to-county migration flows?
  5. Do you have county-to-county migration flows by characteristics?
  6. Do you have migration data by zip codes?
  7. Do you have an estimate of the number of times a person moves in their lifetime?
  8. Do you have data concerning the brain drain for certain areas?
  9. How are regions and divisions defined?
  10. Do you have data on why people move?

Where do I get net internal and international migration used in the Intercensal Population Estimates?  back to top

The Intercensal Population Estimates are created by the Estimates Branch in the Population Division. The files that contain components of population change, including net internal and international migration, can be found on their site at under "download entire data set".


Do you have estimates of the number of U.S. residents who move overseas?  back to top

No, we only collect data for residents of the United States.


Do you have migration projections?  back to top

No, our migration data comes from surveys that measure current migration and not future migration patterns. The U.S. Population Projection Program does take migration into account for their State and National Projections. The methodology can be found on their website.


Do you have county-to-county migration flows?  back to top

The county-to-county migration flow files from Census 2000 are available. County-to-county migration flows for the American Community Survey will not be created until after the first 5-year multiyear estimates are made available.


Do you have county-to-county migration flows by characteristics?  back to top

A Census 2000 migration data dvd is available for purchase that has gross and net migration data as well as county-to-county and some minor civil division flows by selected characteristics. More information about the dvd can be found here.


Do you have migration data by zip codes?  back to top

No, but the Census 2000 migration tables in American FactFinder are available by Zip Code Tabulation Areas ZCTAs. A more detailed definition of ZCTAs can be found here. You can access the ZCTA migration flows from American FactFinder.


Do you have an estimate of the number of times a person moves in their lifetime?  back to top

We do not have an estimate of lifetime moves. However, using mobility rates and life expectancy tables, the expected number of years a person moves in their lifetime can be calculated. For instructions on calculating this, see Calculating Migration Expectancy.


Do you have data concerning the brain drain for certain areas?  back to top

A Census 2000 report, Migration of the Young, Single, and College Educated: 1995 to 2000, was issued in November 2003. Geographical mobility tables by residence 1 year ago for education attainment, age, and marital status are available for the American Community Survey in American Factfinder starting with survey year 2007. Estimates that cross all the variables can only be obtained using the public use microdata sets.


How are regions and divisions defined?  back to top

A reference map [PDF - 6.4K] on the inside cover of the Statistical Abstract shows the states belonging to each of the census regions and divisions.


Do you have data on why people move?  back to top

The Current Population Survey (CPS) is the only survey that asks reason for move. The question was added to the survey in 1998. Geographical mobility tables have data by characteristics by type of move. See Current Population (CPS) reports.



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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Geographical Mobility/Migration |  Last Revised: 2012-06-08T11:46:09.88-04:00