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American Community Survey Migration Flows

The ACS 5-Year Migration Flow Files

These migration flows are derived from the household and group quarter locations sampled in the American Community Survey (ACS) and the responses to the migration questions on the questionnaire.

They are period estimates that measure where people lived when surveyed (current residence) and where they lived 1 year prior (residence 1 year ago). The data are collected continuously over a 5-year period in order to provide a large enough sample for estimates in smaller geographies. The flow estimates resemble the annual number of movers between counties for the 5-year period data was collected.

The flow files produced are:

  • County-to-county — available starting with the 2006-2010 5-year ACS
  • County/minor civil division (MCD)-to-county/MCD — provides flows between MCDs for the 12 strong-MCD states and counties in the other states. The strong-MCD states are states where the MCDs, a type of county subdivision, serve as general purpose governments and provide the same government functions as incorporated places. The strong-MCD states are Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, and Vermont. These files have been available starting with the 2006-2010 5-year ACS.
  • Metropolitan statistical area (MSA)-to-MSA — available starting with the 2009-2013 5-year ACS

For each dataset starting with the 2006-2010 5-year ACS, the flow files have been crossed by selected characteristics. A characteristic will not be reused in overlapping 5-year ACS datasets. For instance, age was one of the characteristics for 2006-2010. Age flows will not be produced again until the 2011-2015 flows. These flows with characteristics are subject to suppression for disclosure avoidance purposes. County and county/MCD flows are suppressed if they consist of only one or two people in different households or group quarters. Complimentary suppression is used for the MSA flows.

Characteristics are not crossed with one another, and their universe may vary from one another and the universe for no characteristics, population 1 year and over.

The characteristics are:

  • 2016-2020 ACS: No Characteristics
  • 2015-2019 ACS: No characteristics
  • 2014-2018 ACS: No characteristics
  • 2013-2017 ACS: No characteristics
  • 2012-2016 ACS: No characteristics
  • 2011-2015 ACS: Age, Sex, Race, Hispanic origin
  • 2010-2014 ACS: Relationship to householder, Household type, Housing tenure
  • 2009-2013 ACS: Ability to speak English, Place of birth, Year in the United States (or Puerto Rico)
  • 2008-2012 ACS: Employment status, Occupation, Work status
  • 2007-2011 ACS: Educational Attainment, Personal income, Household income
  • 2006-2010 ACS: Age, Sex, Race, Hispanic origin

The flow statistics are:

  • MOVEDIN — The estimated number of movers from the reference county to the second county.
  • MOVEDOUT — The estimated number of movers to the reference county from the second county.
  • MOVEDNET — The estimated number of movers between the reference county and second county, or MOVEDIN minus MOVEDOUT.

Besides the flow files, there are supplemental statistics files that provide summary statistics by mover type (e.g., nonmovers, movers to a state, movers from abroad). These flows crossed by characteristics are also subject to suppression. For the estimates based upon the population of the county 1 year ago, there must be at least 50 unweighted cases for the estimates to be shown.

To properly render flow statistics, both a reference geography and a second geography need to be included. Supplemental statistics only need a reference geography. The county-to-county flows are also available through an interactive mapping tool, the Census Flows Mapper.

For more information, please visit the Migration/Geographic Mobility page.

  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010

ACS Migration Flow File:

Characteristic Codes:

Ability to Speak English:

(Universe: Population 5 years and over)

01 = Speak only English

02 = Speak a language other than English, speak English “very well”

03 = Speak a language other than English, speak English less than “very well”

Place of Birth Code:

(Universe: Population 1 year and over)

01 = Same state* as current residence and residence 1 year ago

02 = Same state* as current residence, different state from residence 1 year ago (The latter may be a U.S. Island Area or foreign country)

03 = Different state* than current residence, same state as residence 1 year ago

04 = Different state* than current residence or residence 1 year ago (The latter may be a U.S. Island Area or foreign country)

05 = Born in U.S. Island Area

06 = Born in Germany

07 = Born in remainder of Europe

08 = Born in China (People’s Republic, Hong Kong, Macau, Paracel Islands, or Taiwan)

09 = Born in India

10 = Born in the Philippines

11 = Born in remainder of Asia

12 = Born in Northern America

13 = Born in Mexico

14 = Born in remainder of Central America

15 = Born in the Caribbean

16 = Born in South America

17 = Born in Africa

18 = Born in Oceania or At Sea

* Includes the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico as state equivalents for place of birth

Years in the United States (or Puerto Rico):

(Universe: Population 1 year and over)

01 = Born in the United States (or Puerto Rico for those living in Puerto Rico)

02 = Entered the United States (or Puerto Rico) 5 years ago or less

03 = Entered the United States (or Puerto Rico) 6 to 15 years ago

04 = Entered the United States (or Puerto Rico) 16 years ago or more

Page Last Revised - January 25, 2023
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