Blog Post

Insight: Just Going With the Flow: County-to-County Migration Data Update

By: Emily Harris

Note: The opinions expressed are those of the author alone and do not reflect an institutional position of the Gardner Institute. We hope the opinions shared contribute to the marketplace of ideas and help people as they formulate their own INFORMED DECISIONS™.

The Census Bureau just released the county to county migration flows identified in the 2014-2018 American Community Survey.[i] This data details every migration flow (in and out) between every county in the United States. Pretty cool, right? These gross flows are really helpful. Normally, the most widely available migration measure is net migration (in-migrants minus out migrants). Even though net migration is a useful metric, in reality, no one has ever met a “net-migrant”. So let’s dive into the migration flows.

Utah attracts most of its migrants from neighboring states in the West, such as Idaho, Arizona, Nevada, and California. This is generally true within Utah at the county level, as well. There is a ton of data to mine out of this release, so I thought I would take a more focused approach by comparing Salt Lake County and Utah County to see how they relate and comingle.

Salt Lake and Utah County both attract a large number of migrants from foreign countries. The largest number of immigrants in Salt Lake County hail from Asia, while Utah County’s largest share are from South America.