State-to-State Migration Flows

The American Community Survey (ACS) and the Puerto Rico Community Survey (PRCS) ask respondents age 1 year and over whether they lived in the same residence 1 year ago.  For people who lived in a different residence, the location of their previous residence is collected.  The state-to-state migration flows are created from tabulations of the current state (including the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) of residence crossed by state of residence 1 year ago.  Tables of ACS state-to-state flows are available going back to the 2005 ACS – the first year of full implementation of the survey.  People living in group quarters (e.g. adult correctional facilities, nursing facilities, college/university student housing, and military quarters) were added to the sample for the first time starting with the 2006 ACS.

The rows in each table represent the state of current residence and the columns represent the state of residence 1 year ago.  The cells where the current residence and residence 1 year ago are the same are the estimated number of people who moved within the state.

Currently, there are no state-to-state migration flows by characteristics available as an ACS standard product.  Data users can create their own tabulations using public use microdata sample (PUMS) files.

Tables: Movers Within and Between States, District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico

Region-to-Region Migration Flows

Estimates for migration flows between regions for ACS are available in American FactFinder beginning with the 2004 ACS.  Use either Subject Table S0702 or Detailed Table B07101.

Decennial Census State-to-State Migration Flows

Migration questions have been asked on previous decennial censuses since 1940.  Except for the 1950 Census, the time period between previous residence and current residence was 5 years instead of one year.  Because of the difference in time period, Decennial Census and ACS migration estimates are not comparable.

State-to-State Migration Flow Tables are available on the Internet for Census 2000 and the 1990 Census.  They are located on the Geographic Mobility/Migration Website.  Tables for previous censuses are available in various publications published by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census Publication Title Number Table Page
1940 Internal Migration 1935 to 1940: Color and Sex of Migrants   16 27
1950 Population Mobility – State and State Economic Areas P-E 4B 10 34
1960 Mobility for States and State Economic Areas PC(2)-2E 16 72
1970 Mobility for States and the Nation PC(2)-2B 44 316
1980 Geographical Mobility for States and the Nation PC80-2A 11 85
State of Residence in 1975 by State of Residence in 1980 PC80-S1-9 1 3

Some of the publications are available in pdf format on the Census Website.  Printed copies of the publications are available at Federal depository libraries.

Migration Flows for Geography Below the State Level

Currently, there are no migration flow data products for ACS below the state level.  Inmigration and outmigration data are available for published geographies in American FactFinder.  Detailed tables B07001 through B07013 contain geographical mobility in the past year for current residence by selected characteristics for all summary levels.  The data are separated into five geographical mobility categories:  Nonmovers, movers within the same county, movers from a different county within the same state, movers from a different state, and movers from abroad.  Detailed tables B07401 through B07413 contain geographical mobility in the past year for residence 1 year ago by selected categories for some summary levels.  The data are separated into four categories: Nonmovers, movers within the same county, movers to a different county within the same state, and movers to a different state. Tables dealing specifically for Puerto Rico have a -PR suffix and slightly different geographical mobility categories.

The latest county-to-county flows available use Census 2000 data.  They are located on the Geographic Mobility/Migration Website.  The Census Bureau also published The Census Migration Data DVD available for purchase that contains one-way and two-way cross tabulations for county-to-county migration flows. 

Other Sources

The Population Estimates Program publishes intercensal population estimates using various administrative and survey data.  They produce population, population change, and estimated components of change files for the nation, states, counties, metropolitan and micropolitan areas, and combined statistical areas as part of the whole data set they provide to download for analysis.  The files contain estimates for net internal and net international migration.

Additional Links:

ACS Background Information
ACS Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS) Files Information
Population Estimates Program

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