The Midwest Beat the South in Regional Domestic Migration in 2016

For years, if not decades, we’ve been hearing a familiar tale- that anyone and everyone is moving from the Midwest and Northeast to the South and West. This trend began during and after the collapse of Northern manufacturing, and as higher cost of living began to make the lower-cost South more attractive in particular. However, a lot of the South’s growth over the years- indeed a majority- never had anything to do with region-to-region migration. Instead, it was due largely to natural growth (births vs. deaths) and international migration, particularly from Central America. What received all the attention, though, was the belief that people were packing up and moving to the South from places like Ohio and other struggling Northern states. While that may have been true for a while, that is increasingly looking like it is no longer the case.

The Midwest, especially, has been derided as the region no one wants to live in. Despite its growing population approaching 66 million people, the common refrain was that its colder winters, flailing economies and questionable demographic future meant that it was simply a region being left behind by the booming Southern states.

Recently, the US Census released estimates for 2015-2016 geographic mobility, and they tell a very different story altogether.

First, let’s look at the total domestic migration moving to the Midwest from other regions.
South to Midwest: +309,000
West to Midwest: +72,000
Northeast to Midwest: +61,000
Total to Midwest: +442,000

And then compare that to the total that the Midwest sends to other regions.
Midwest to South: -254,000
Midwest to West: -224,000
Midwest to Northeast: -34,000
Total from Midwest: -512,000

Net difference by region.
Midwest vs. South: +55,000
Midwest vs. West: -152,000
Midwest vs. Northeast: +27,000
Total Net: -70,000

So while the Midwest is seeing and overall net domestic migration loss, it is entirely to the Western states.

This could just be an off year, as almost all recent years showed losses to the South, but then again, maybe not. The South has been in a boom for several decades now, and in that time, the region still lags the other 3 in almost every quality of life metric used. All booms end eventually, and the South’s 2 biggest perceived advantages, low cost of living and business-friendly climate, have been gradually eroding over time. As Census surveys show, people don’t actually move for a change in weather, so it’s the economic factors that are going to make the biggest impacts long-term. The Midwest now has many cities and several states that are doing well economically, including Columbus, and perhaps they are becoming more attractive than they have in many years. Time will tell, but last year, the narrative of an unattractive Midwest vs. South was at least temporarily shelved.

1950s Ohio Severe Weather Reports Map

Interested in knowing where severe weather took place in Ohio during the 1950s? Here is a map for all the listed reports during that era. Click on the pins for more information.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1rAbADeNyKlqLT_7qvxUpURKXlHA&usp=sharing

The map incudes information for tornadoes, high wind and hail reports.

June 8, 1953 tornado damage.

2015 County Population Estimates Report

The US Census has released its population estimates for both counties and metros for the year ending July 1, 2015. Here is a detailed look at Ohio’s counties.

Ohio’s Top 25 Largest Counties

2010……………………………….2014………………………………..2015
1. Cuyahoga: 1,280,109….1. Cuyahoga: 1,263,796……1. Cuyahoga: 1,255,921
2. Franklin: 1,163,545……..2. Franklin: 1,234,126………2. Franklin: 1,251,722
3. Hamilton: 802,270……….3. Hamilton: 806,332……….3. Hamilton: 807,598
4. Summit: 541,671………..4. Summit: 542,600………….4. Summit: 541,968
5. Montgomery: 536,216….5. Montgomery: 532,515…..5. Montgomery: 532,258
6. Lucas: 441,575…………..6. Lucas: 434,615…………….6. Lucas: 433,689
7. Stark: 375,461…………….7. Stark: 375,638…………….7. Butler: 376,353
8. Butler: 369,064…………..8. Butler: 373,948…………….8. Stark: 375,165
9. Lorain: 301,471…………..9. Lorain: 304,187……………9. Lorain:305,147
10. Mahoning: 238,398……10. Mahoning: 233,398…….10. Mahoning: 231,900
11. Lake: 230,004…………..11. Lake: 229,220……………11. Lake: 229,245
12. Warren: 213,524………..12. Warren: 221,816………..12. Warren: 224,469
13. Trumbull: 209,854………13. Trumbull: 205,255……..13. Trumbull: 203,751
14. Clermont: 197,795……..14. Clermont: 201,375……..14. Clermont: 201,973
15. Delaware: 175,146……..15. Delaware: 189,237…….15. Delaware: 193,0134
16. Medina: 172,542………..16. Medina: 175,963………..16. Medina: 176,395
17. Licking: 166,480…………17. Licking: 169,407………..17. Licking: 170,570
18. Greene: 161,608………..18. Greene: 164,660………..18. Greene: 164,427
19. Portage: 161,448……….19. Portage: 162,235………..19. Porage: 162,275
20. Fairfield: 146,385……….20. Fairfield: 150,432………..20. Fairfield: 151,408
21. Clark: 148,246…………..21. Clark: 136,482……………21. Clark: 135,959
22. Wood: 125,940………….22. Wood: 129,575…………..22. Wood: 129,730
23. Richland: 124,173……..23. Richland: 121,914……….23. Richland: 121,707
24. Wayne: 114,439………..24. Wayne: 115,572………….24. Wayne: 116,063
25. Columbiana: 107,863…25. Columbiana: 105,597…..25. Columbiana: 104,806

From the numbers above, Columbus’ Franklin County was just below Cuyahoga last year. It is likely that, given each county’s growth rates, Franklin has now passed up Cuyahoga to become Ohio’s most populated county.

Top 25 Total Growth Counties 2010-2015

1. Franklin: +88,177
2. Delaware: +18,824
3. Warren: +11,601
4. Butler: +8,223
5. Fairfield: +5,256
6. Hamilton: +5,224
7. Clermont: +4,610
8. Wood: +4,242
9. Licking: +4,090
10. Medina: +4,062
11. Lorain: +3,791
12. Greene: +2,858
13. Union: +2,010
14. Miami: +1,718
15. Wayne: +1,549
16. Holmes: +1,543
17. Pickaway: +1,300
18. Athens: +1,113
19. Portage: +854
20. Hancock: +791
21. Geauga: +692
22. Madison: +664
23. Tuscarawas: +334
24. Morrow: +247
25. Muskingum: +216



Components of County Population Change

Top 25 Counties for Natural Growth (Births vs. Deaths) 2010-2015
1. Franklin: +50,736
2. Hamilton: +17,256
3. Butler: +7,785
4. Cuyahoga: +7,409
5. Lucas: +7,053
6. Delaware: +6,260
7. Montgomery: +5,007
8. Warren: +4,688
9. Clermont: +3,987
10. Summit: +3,194
11. Fairfield: +2,676
12. Lorain: +2,630
13. Holmes: +2,613
14. Wayne: +2,554
15. Licking: +2,482
16. Greene: +2,309
17. Medina: +2,040
18. Wood: +1,824
19. Union: +1,475
20. Hancock: +1,196
21. Allen: +1,115
22. Shelby: +1,038
23. Miami: +902
24. Putnam: +849
25. Huron: +815

Franklin County’s natural growth rate destroys every other county in the state. It gains almost 7x that of Cuyahoga County, despite Cuyahoga having a larger population during this period, and nearly 3x that of Hamilton County.

Top 25 Counties for Domestic Migration 2010-2015
1. Franklin: +11,715
2. Delaware: +10,532
3. Warren: +4,496
4. Fairfield: +1,691
5. Licking: +1,249
6. Medina: +1,234
7. Wood: +1,120
8. Pickaway: +711
9. Miami: +475
10. Union: +249
11. Madison: +246
12. Ottawa: +5
13. Clermont: -39
14. Morrow: -159
15. Morgan: -162
16. Monroe: -167
17. Washington: -177
18. Harrison: -198
19. Belmont: -221
20. Geauga: -320
21. Vinton: -361
22. Meigs: -401
23. Noble: -421
24. Van Wert: -431
25. Perry: -464

Again, Franklin County leads the pack, with Columbus metro counties performing the best statewide, as shown in the map below.

Top 25 Counties for International Migration 2010-2015
1. Franklin: +26,977
2. Cuyahoga: +16,926
3. Hamilton: +9,016
4. Montgomery: +5,380
5. Summit: +5,307
6. Butler: +4,066
7. Greene: +2,400
8. Lorain: +2,303
9. Warren: +2,198
10. Lucas: +2,194
11. Portage: +1,991
12. Delaware: +1,610
13. Athens: +1,586
14. Mahoning: +1,383
15. Wood: +1,026
16. Stark: +881
17. Lake: +729
18. Fairfield: +658
19. Clermont: +612
20. Medina: +578
21. Tuscarawas: +468
22. Wayne: +408
23. Licking: +404
24. Allen: +375
25. Miami: +359

Most Ohio counties saw increases in international migration, but once again, none came close to Franklin County’s total.

So there you have it, the updated numbers for Ohio’s counties.

Cool Link of the Day: Before and After Worldwide

Similar to the Before and After posts of how Columbus has been changing, the link below from the site Urb-I, has hundreds of before and after photos of streetscape change in a host of world cities. Columbus itself is not included, but perhaps that can be changed as the site allows anyone to submit images.

http://www.urb-i.com/#!before-after/ceh8