As a native Portlander who is now living once again in Portland, I find that fewer and fewer of my peers were born in Oregon; most of my friends living here are from other states. To investigate whether this was a coincidence or a reflection of a real trend, I decided to map the Census data on the topic.

The dot map shows the relative distributions of those born in state, out of state (but still in the US), and abroad. The strong influence of population density, though, makes the immediate variations less visible. As such, I made a second map that shows the percentage of people living in each county who were born in the state where they reside.

The median percentage among all counties is 71%, while a population-weighted average yields 59%. So when you ask someone in the continental US, “Are you from around here,” there is about a three in five chance that they are at least from the state. Given that this includes children who have yet to leave their homes, perhaps this number is not that high.

Of the 24 counties with more than 90% of residents living in their birth states, 11 are in Mississippi (four) and Louisiana (seven). Of the 25 counties with fewer than 25% of residents living in their birth states, five are in Alaska (not shown), five are in Florida, and four are in Nevada.

Finally, my suspicions about Portland were justified: in Multnomah County, only 43% of residents were born in Oregon, which is well below the national average!

Data source: (Table B05002) 

Posted on 23 September, 2013

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