Meet the Author

Guhan Venkatu |

Vice President and Senior Regional Officer

Guhan Venkatu

Guhan Venkatu is vice president and senior regional officer at the Pittsburgh Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, where he manages relationships with key stakeholders in the area and is responsible for monitoring the region’s economic environment. For the past several years, his economic research has focused on inflation and inflation expectations, housing and household finance, and factors related to regional economic growth.

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Meet the Author

Kyle Fee |

Economic Analyst

Kyle Fee

Kyle Fee is an economic analyst in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland. His research interests include economic development, regional economics and economic geography.

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12.21.2011

Economic Trends

Domestic Migration and its Impact on Ohio

Guhan Venkatu and Kyle Fee

Americans tend to be more mobile than others in the industrialized world. According to a recent study*, the fraction of Americans who moved in 2005—roughly 12 percent—was about twice as high as the fraction that moved in most European countries outside of Northern Europe during the same time. While Americans’ annual mobility rates remain high by international standards, they appear to have trended down since at least 1980, though the reasons for this remain unclear.

What has changed less over this period is where Americans are going. About 2.5 percent of Americans move from one state to another in a given year, and for several decades, these flows have tended to transfer population from the Midwest and Northeast toward the South and West. More recent data, from 2005 to 2009, suggest that this general movement of population is continuing to take place.

What accounts for this ongoing trend? Some explanations emphasize economic factors, such as less onerous land and labor regulations in the South, likely to be favored by businesses. Other explanations emphasize more desirable weather, as well as proximity to natural amenities, like mountains or oceans, likely to be favored by households. Which of these explanations turns out to be closer to the truth has important implications for states that have seen net outmigration on average over the last few decades. The former explanation suggests that different policy choices can reverse the observed trend.

Ohio, like many Midwestern states, saw a net outmigration over the period from 2005 to 2009, taking in about 35,000 fewer individuals from other states than it transferred to them. It received individuals on net from the District of Columbia and 16 states which were largely concentrated in the northeast and upper Midwest, and it made net transfers to 33 states which were generally in the South and West.

Ohio gained the most net migrants from Michigan (+3,043), New York (+1,821), and Illinois (+1,797); and lost the most net migrants to Florida (−7,954), North Carolina (−6,417), and Texas (−5,635).

Net migration flows from Ohio to other states tended to be consistent with broader, national net migration flows.

Among these first three states, net inflows from Illinois and Michigan were weighted heavily toward those under 35. For New York, net inflows for individuals under 35 outpaced those of older individuals by about two-to-one. There were meaningful net inflows of individuals with advanced degrees, but these were outpaced by inflows of individuals without a college degree by at least three-to-one.

Migration Flows to and from Ohio by Age for Selected States

 
Michigan
New York
Illinois
Florida
North Carolina
Texas
Age
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
<18
3244
3,017
227
1,252
813
439
1,536
800
736
3,436
4,419
−983
1,462
2,662
−1,200
1,896
2,511
−615
18-24
5,144
4,024
1,120
2,671
2,544
127
3,227
2,755
472
2,173
3,455
−1,282
1,141
3,388
−2,247
1,182
2,987
−1,805
25-34
4,497
2,841
1,656
2,092
1,488
604
2,303
1,829
474
3,747
4,388
−641
1,851
3,118
−1,267
1,658
2,991
−1,333
35-44
1,569
1,753
−184
953
774
179
864
780
84
2,050
3,165
−1,115
918
1,499
−581
1,279
1,497
−218
45-54
1,304
1,047
257
684
472
212
528
552
−24
2,057
2,484
−427
305
718
−413
759
1,553
−794
55-64
812
597
215
431
343
88
328
397
−69
1,001
3,012
−2,011
259
630
−371
436
1,017
−581
>65
450
698
−248
414
242
172
199
75
124
2,140
3,635
−1,495
461
799
−338
273
562
−289
All
17,020
13,977
3,043
8,497
6,676
1,821
8,985
7,188
1,797
16,604
24,558
−7,954
6,397
12,814
−6,417
7,483
13,118
−5,635

Source: American Community Survey, 2005-2009.

Migration Flows to and from Ohio by Education for Selected States

 
Michigan
New York
Illinois
Florida
North Carolina
Texas
Education
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
In
Out
Net
High school diploma or less
3,476
2,546
930
1,620
1,234
386
1,505
879
626
6,077
8,188
−2,111
1,649
2,046
−397
1,889
2,698
−809
Some college
1,927
1,508
419
1,050
509
541
613
472
141
2,311
3,332
−1,021
895
1,682
−787
948
1,211
−263
College degree
1,586
1,536
50
1,035
981
54
1,189
1,565
−376
1,729
3,197
−1,468
793
1,836
−1,043
783
2,204
−1,421
More than college degree
1,643
1,346
297
869
595
274
915
717
198
878
1,967
−1,089
457
1,200
−743
785
1,507
−722
All
8,632
6,936
1,696
4,574
3,319
1,255
4,222
3,633
589
10,995
16,684
−5,689
3,794
6,764
−2,970
4,405
7,620
−3,215

Note: Individuals 25 and over only.
Source: American Community Survey, 2005-2009.

Among the states to which Ohio lost migrants on net, there were losses across all age and educational attainment categories. In North Carolina and Texas, these losses were weighted toward younger individuals (those under 34) by at least two-to-one. For Florida, this ratio was almost two-to-one in favor of older individuals. As far as educational attainment, net outflows to Texas and North Carolina were weighted toward those with at least a college degree; however, for Florida, net outflows were weighted modestly toward those without a college degree.

*“Internal Migration in the United States,” by Raven Molloy, Christopher L. Smith, and Abigail Wozniak. 2011. Journal of Economic Perspectives, vol. 25, no. 3.