Where Utahns were born and where they live nowby Lecia Parks Langston, Senior Economist
“Men and women are limited not by the place of their birth, not by the color of their skin, but by the size of their hope.” John Harold Johnson
Do you live in the state of your birth? According to American Community Survey data, the answer to that question is influenced both by your birthplace and your current place of residence.
We love Utah
According to 2014 tabulations, 62 percent of Utah’s population was born here in the Beehive State. While Utah doesn’t rank in the top tier of states with the highest shares of birthplace-residing individuals, it is unusual in the mobile West. Utah is surrounded by states with relatively low shares of birthplace-residing populations. In fact, neighboring Nevada sports the lowest share in the nation with only 26 percent of present residents indicating they were born in the state. Utah’s cultural preference for close family ties undoubtedly plays a role in its higher-than-average western ranking.
Most states with high percentages of populations born in their current state of residence are located in the geographic center of the United States. In Louisiana, almost 78 percent of the population was born in-state. Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania also showed shares greater than 73 percent.
California, here I come
California acts as both the largest outside source of nonnative Utah residents and the most likely out-of-state dwelling for those born in Utah. This California relationship is common for many states, but particularly those in the West. For the most part, those born in Utah don’t wander too far from their birthplace mostly staying the western portion of the country. Outside of the western states and Texas, those born in Utah are most likely to have migrated to Florida, Virginia or New York.
In addition, western states tend to provide the largest number of current nonnative Utah residents. Interestingly, excluding the western states and Texas, native Utahns are most likely to have relocated to New York, Illinois or Ohio.
From foreign climes
The American Community Survey also provides an indication of the share of a state’s population born outside the U.S. In Utah, roughly 9 percent of residents were born in foreign countries. That’s about midway between California, where a whopping 28 percent of the population was born out of country, and West Virginia where less than 2 percent of the population is foreign born.
Landing spots for immigrants stand out. More than one-fifth of the population in California, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Nevada and Hawaii are not U.S. natives. On the other side of the coin, states in the middle of the country are less likely to be home to foreign-born individuals.
Data for all 50 states (and U.S. territories) can be found in the visualizations included with this posting.