Migration into and out of Los Angeles, CA (2008)
Migration into and out of Los Angeles, CA (2008)

What works

This is an interactive graphic situation so to get the most out of it, I recommend clicking through to forbes.com and playing around.

What works is that we can see a lot of internal migration between Los Angeles and other west coast cities as well as between LA, Florida, and the DC-NYC-Boston corridor. I know plenty of bi-coastal folks so the picture matches up with my experience. To get the proper context, I suggest you click through and pick some rural counties to see how much people tend to move from small place to small place and from big place to big place but not so much from very small to very big or vice versa.

Overall, what the interactive graphic ends up showing us is that people move quite a bit. The map gets saturated with lines.

Man, we can really make some cool graphics – and interactive ones at that – with the ridiculous capacity of desktop computers these days. This is a data-driven graphic that would have been nearly impossible not that long ago.

What needs work

There is no comparison for this graphic. I can’t tell if all this migration is more than normal, trending up, trending down, or anything of that nature. Sheer volume at one time can generate lots of questions but it doesn’t answer many.

I’d also be curious to know if the movers are evenly spread across the life course. Plenty of people move to go to college and then again when they leave college, or so I think. And there has been plenty of ink spilled about retirees moving south from places like Chicago and Minneapolis. Then, about ten years ago, I remember reading stories about the plight of the managerial class having to move around within their multi-national corporations to keep progressing in their companies all through their mid-life. With all those half-baked hypotheses, I would love to see how life stage impacts internal migration.


Bruner, Joseph. (15 June 2010) Map: Where Americans Are Moving at forbes.com.