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About Migration and Place of Birth

Geographic Mobility

Migration and geographic mobility both refer to the movement of people from one location to another. Migration typically refers to moves that cross a boundary, such as a county or state line, and is either domestic migration (movement within the U.S.) or international migration (movement between the U.S. and other countries). Mobility includes both short and long-distance moves.

The Census Bureau collects, produces, and publishes a range of statistics on geographic mobility and migration using multiple data sources. For more information about these data sources and the types of data they produce on geographic mobility, see the Surveys/Programs page.

Another component that measures migration/geographic mobility is place of birth. Place of birth (domestic) focuses on the native population, as defined by the Census Bureau, includes U.S. residents who were born in the United States or an outlying area of the United States and U.S. residents who were born in a foreign country but who had at least one parent who was a U.S. citizen. All other residents of the United States are classified as foreign born.

Place of birth (domestic) data compares people’s birth state with where they lived at the time of the survey. The data will provide a breakdown of the population for those born in state of residence; born in another state in the U.S.; Native, born outside the U.S.; and Foreign born by selected characteristics. Detailed information about the foreign-born is covered under citizenship and nativity.

International Migration

International Migration is the movement of people across a national border. This includes both immigration (migration to a country) and emigration (migration from a country) or the combination of the two (net international migration). The U.S. Census Bureau produces annual estimates of net international migration for the nation, states, and counties in the United States. These estimates are based in part on data collected in censuses and surveys. Projections of the U.S. population are also made using assumptions about net international migration.

Contact Us

For assistance, please contact the Census Call Center at 1-800-923-8282 (toll free) or visit ask.census.gov for further information.

Page Last Revised - December 3, 2021
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