Within the span of two days, I received two emails asking about the most common sending states for new residents to North Carolina. The most recent inquiry wrote:
“What state do most people move from when coming to NC? My guess is NY- or the North East area. Another person I know is insistent that more people move here from Florida.”
In this debate, both people are right, depending on how you measure migration. Migration has two key components – people moving into an area and people moving out of an area. We typically talk about net migration, the total number of people moving into an area minus the total number of people leaving. But we can also capture migration as the total volume or flow of people between two places, measured as either in flow, out flow, or gross (total) flow.
When we look just at movers into North Carolina, Virginia is the most common sending state: nearly 29,300 individuals moved to North Carolina from Virginia between 2012 and 2013 according to the 2013 American Community Survey. Florida was second, with just under 26,000 individuals moving from Florida to North Carolina. New York is third, with 24,300 individuals moving from New York into North Carolina over the same time period.
But New York emerges as the leader when we account for net migration. Only 13,500 North Carolinians moved to New York between 2012 and 2013, meaning that net migration from New York to North Carolina contributed nearly 11,000 new residents to the state over that time period. In contrast, Florida was the leading destination for individuals moving out of the state. North Carolina lost just over 1,200 individuals to Florida between 2012 and 2013. The total number of people moving between North Carolina and Florida—53,200—was the largest flow between North Carolina and any state.
For more information on state-to-state migration flows, visit this post.