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This post will look at the demographics of America’s governors by place of birth, as of March 2012. All in all, this series on the demographics of America’s governors examines:

More below.

The following map indicates the birth place of each of America's governors. I honestly had no idea what to expect when making this map. On the one hand, the result is quite interesting in several ways. On the other hand, it's somewhat difficult to interpret what appears in the following map. Is this a result of randomness, or is there a pattern?

Let's take a look:


There are actually a lot of states whose current governor was born in said state. 31 states fit this category.

This is an interesting result. America is commonly thought of a very mobile society; there are very few regional differences, with the exception of the South, between one part of America and another. You can't tell a Pennsylvanian from a Californian, for instance. Yet the majority of American states are still governed by native-born members of those states.

Another element is missing here: foreigners. Not a single American state is governed by a person born outside of the United States. Arnold Schwarzeneggers are very rare.

There seems to be a degree of regional difference. Most obviously, a band of states stretching from the Pacific Northwest to the Southwest are governed by individuals born outside said state. It's hard to draw conclusions about the other parts of the country, however.

The map above does bear some resemblance to the electoral college. States with governors born elsewhere in the United States tend to be states which Barack Obama could possibly win in 2012. There are, of course, plenty of exceptions to this statement (such as Oklahoma and New York).

Finally, there a lot of Pennsylvanians governing states elsewhere. On the other hand, only one New Yorker (Neil Abercrombie) is governing a state outside of New York. Nor does anybody born in heavily populated Florida govern a state. You can make a lot of jokes about this result, although it's most probably just randomness.

Are there any revealing partisan differences in this demographic? Let's look at states governed by Democrats:


Now states governed by Republicans:


If such differences exist, they escape me.

Perhaps the most relevant conclusion to be drawn from this result is that America is still a pretty introverted place. Chances are pretty good that the your state is governed by somebody born there. And chances are very good that your state is governed by somebody born in the United States.

(Edit: Apparently about six in ten American live in the same state that they were born, which is a lot higher than I thought. Consider that 12.9% of Americans are foreign-born. Anyways, the number of governors born in the same state that they govern happens to match pretty well the number of Americans born in the same state that they live - although not-so-well the number of Americans born in a different country.)


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Comment Preferences

  •  So Pennsylvanians control (0+ / 0-)

    five states (including PA)? Is that what this is saying?

  •  one pattern i see (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a gilas girl, WI Deadhead, Odysseus

    is that most of the states with a governor from out of state have governors who were born in states from nearby, or at least in the same region.

    NV and AZ have govs from CA.
    OR has a gov from WA.
    NM has a gov from TX.
    OK has a gov from MO.
    ND has one from MN.
    NH has one from MA.
    NC has a gov from VA.
    MD has one from DC.
    IN, OH and VA are all pretty close to PA, although VA is in a different region culturally (although one could counterargue that NOVA isn't really all that far from philly).

    the outliers are AK (although CA is less far away than most of the rest of the country, i guess), HI, WA, CO, WI, MA and FL. of those, all those states but WI tend to be big magnets for out of state migrants, so it's not all that weird.

  •  The more interesting pattern (3+ / 0-)

    is the states who have native born governors.  The important question to me would be, did they receive their education in-state or did they travel out of the state to be educated (and possibly to begin careers) then return to their native states for a political career?

    Regionalism is pretty clear in the US.  And unlike you, I find it pretty easy to identify and define.  So I'd probably recognize a Pennsylvanian as such and not a Californian from his or her accent (especially if it were someone from the Eastern part of the state where the accents are pretty distinct).  Maybe it's because here in the East and the MidWest the regions are so much more clearly delineated, and not simply the South, but all of them, but I don't buy your premise at all here.

    Where I mess up is in the mountain west and up into the Pacific NW, mostly because it is a part of the country I have no familiarity with at all.  

    What's more interesting to look at, I think, isn't who's stayed in their state and who's moved around as what are the more provincial regions and areas in the country, and which have more movement both in and out?

    Words can sometimes, in moments of grace, attain the quality of deeds. --Elie Wiesel

    by a gilas girl on Mon Mar 26, 2012 at 10:27:24 PM PDT

  •  I'd be interested to see (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    WI Deadhead, Odysseus, Clem Yeobright

    Of the out of state governors, who moved into their state as a child vs as an adult. I moved to my current state when I was 11 from a neighboring state, and consider my new state my home, having few ties to my native state. I imagine that would be different for someone who moved later in life.

    •  Great Idea (0+ / 0-)

      But that information would be really difficult to track down. I, for one, was born in Texas but was raised in New Mexico (and the moved back to Texas for high school). I consider myself a native of both states.

      22, Nice Calm Burkean Post-Modern Gay Democrat; NM-2 (Childhood), TX-20 (School), TX-17 (Austin Home); SSP: wmayes

      by wwmiv on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 08:41:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was born in Indiana (0+ / 0-)

      But moved to South Carolina form the ages of 3-9, and then moved back up to Indiana.

      24, Solid Liberal Democrat (-4.75, -4.51), DKE Gay Caucus Majority Leader, IN-02; Swingnut. Gregg for Governor! Donnelly for Senate! Mullen for Congress!

      by HoosierD42 on Tue Mar 27, 2012 at 09:26:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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