Not from around here: Share of population born in state of residence

Nationwide, 58.7% of U.S. residents currently live in the same state they were born in, according to 2010-2014 American Community Survey data. This ranges from a high of 78% in Louisiana to a low of 25% in Nevada. North Carolina is similar to the national average: 57.8% of North Carolina state residents were born here.

Among North Carolina’s counties, the proportion NC-native ranges from less than 1 in 3 residents in both Currituck (25.5%) and Clay (30.8%) to more than 80% in Washington, Edgecombe, Bertie, and Martin. Nationally, many counties in the Midwest, South, and western New York and Pennsylvania have high proportions of “native-born” residents. Migrant destinations are visible as they have a much lower proportion of state-born residents. These include larger metropolitan areas, such as New York, Philadelphia, D.C., Raleigh, and Atlanta, many Western states (Nevada, Colorado), and Florida.

CD_Share of Population Born in State

Among the 10 counties with either the highest or lowest share of individuals born in their state of residence, only Alaska has a county on each list. An estimated 97% of residents in the Wade Hampton Census Area were born in Alaska, the highest of any county, while only 21% of Aleutians West Census Area residents were born in Alaska, the 9th lowest of any county.

CD_Share of Population Born in State_Top 10 Counties

As individuals grow older, the likelihood that they move away from their state of birth increases. These county-level patterns vary by age, although the overall trends remain the same. The most marked difference is among the child population, as displayed on the map below.

The vast majority of children under 18 are living in the state in which they were born, although there are a few exceptions. In certain border regions, the proportion of the child population born in the state of residence drops markedly, suggesting that individuals may be born in hospitals in a neighboring state, or that there is a high degree of cross-border migration among young families.

CD_Share of Child Population Born in State

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About Rebecca Tippett

Rebecca Tippett is Director of Carolina Demography at UNC-Chapel Hill's Carolina Population Center.
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