The Census Bureau released a slew of data on state-to-state migration recently showing that Americans have become significantly less mobile than they used to be, with just 11.7 percent moving in the last year, near historic lows. It's not much different from the record low of 11.6, set in 2011. Even when people move, they aren't moving far, with a majority staying in the same county and less than a quarter moving more than 500 miles.
All that points to how mobility hasn't really recovered from the Great Recession. You might remember The Grapes of Wrath and assume that economic dislocation spurs more people to move in search of work, but that isn't the case, which can in fact slow recovery. Rather than head for parts of the country where the economy is healthiest, instead people get stuck in place, often thanks to an underwater mortgage that makes selling unwise, or simply the need to scrape up thousands of dollars to be able to relocate. Nevertheless, unemployed people did move more (18.9 percent) than employed persons (11.9 percent), and persons in poverty moved more than the national average.
All that data is interesting in itself, but if you're wondering specifically where people are going, a new data visualization from analyst Chris Walker really makes the numbers pop. Instead of a boring bar chart, Walker offers a dazzling pinwheel of webs between states. Walker's version is interactive, and you should click through to play with it, but here's a still to give you a taste:
If you want to drill down to a particular state, you can mouse over each state at Walker's site
and see individual links to other states. For instance, contra conservative claims, not everyone in California is moving to Texas. In fact, many Texans are moving to California, and nearly as many Californians are moving to Washington
as they are to Texas. California does have a net outflow (not as large as New York, though) while Texas has a net inflow (not as large as Florida, though), but that doesn't mean California is on track to lose population, so long as births continue to outstrip deaths there.
Atlantic Cities also has some stationary images, like the one above as well as a few individual states, as well as a brief interview with Walker.