Missouri Had Negligible Net Migration During 2008-09
This week, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post both published articles that analyze recent Census data on net domestic migration patterns. Both articles suppose that fewer Americans are relocating to southern and western states because of the recession and housing crisis. From the Washington Post article:
As the latest data suggest, hard times have led many people to abandon once-booming locales, and increasing numbers of others to stay put, when they cannot sell their houses or land new jobs.
Domestic migration data is interesting because it demonstrates how people “vote with their feet.” People typically move to states that have competitive environments that are more favorable, and away from states that do not.
Neither article includes statistics about Missouri specifically, so I downloaded the 2008 state population estimates and the 2008–09 “components of population change” data from the Census Bureau to find out. I computed the rate of domestic migration by dividing the net domestic migration by the population, and also the rate of total migration by dividing the total migration by the population. (Note: The articles use total population change, which is a different figure.)
For Missouri, the rate of domestic migration was 0.00 percent. How anticlimactic. This means that the number of people who moved from Missouri to other states during 2008–09 was equal to the the number of people who did the opposite. However, when we account for international migration, the rate of total migration is 0.10 percent. Compared to other states, Missouri has the 17th-lowest rate of total migration.
Data recently released by United Van Lines confirms the statement that the percentage of moves into and out of Missouri are about equal. Missouri was listed as seventh on the list of the most balanced states — its percentage of inbound shipments is 54.0, and its percentage of outbound shipments is 46.
If it weren’t for the fact that the number of births (80,865) exceeded the number of deaths (55,449) during this period, Missouri wouldn’t have grown at all.
Maintaining a constant population size has a benefit, though — Missouri won’t lose congressional seats.