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Interactive map on migration patterns in America

US: Forbes magazine has posted an interactive map showing, county by county, where Americans moved to and where they moved from. According to the map, more people are still moving into Central Oregon than out of it. The map is based on data for 2008, which was before the economy meltdown. The map casts some doubt on the theory that higher tax rates cause higher-income people to flee a state en masse. The Economist takes a look at the map and concludes that the picture is much more complicated.

The map indicates out-migration by lines in shades of red, with darker shades indicating more people moving out. In-migration is shown bylines in shades of gray to black; again, the darker the shade, the more people moving in.

Deschutes County appears to have a lot more gray or black ones than pink or red ones. Most of the in-migrants came from the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas; the Portland area and the Willamette Valley also contributed quite a few.

People moving out of the county mostly headed north and east, to Washington, Idaho and Montana. However, numbers are only about 30 to 50. On the other hand, 365 people moved to Deschutes from California’s Orange County and San Diego County alone in 2008.

“If we look at movements between Santa Clara County and Harris County (the heart of Houston and one of the fastest growing large counties in the country) we see that in 2008, 478 people moved from Santa Clara to Harris while just 331 moved in the opposite direction,” The Economist observes. “But the average income of those moving from Houston to Silicon Valley was USD 10,000 higher than that of those moving in the other direction. This dynamic plays out across a number of rapidly growing, low cost Sunbelt locations.”

The income difference was even more pronounced between migrants to and from Silicon Valley and Atlanta, GA, another relatively low-tax state. The average per capita income of those moving to Santa Clara County from Atlanta was USD 84,000, but the average income of those moving the other way was only USD 35,000.

“Clearly this complicates the image of the mobile rich fleeing to places with the lowest tax rates,” The Economist concludes. “Which isn’t to say that tax rates aren’t a factor in migration decisions. It’s simply to note that there are more things to take into account than tax rates.”

Source: The Source Weekly