To what states do workers and retirees migrate? Arizona ranks second when it comes to attracting the 65+ crowd and fourth overall in net domestic migration.

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In the intricate web of demographic trends that shape our society, net domestic migration by age emerges as a critical thread, weaving the story of how populations ebb and flow across time. To delve into this captivating subject, we turn to the 2022 1-Year American Community Survey (ACS), which randomly selects and surveys households to estimate population, migration, and demographic information about the country. This survey, conducted annually, offers a panoramic view of the American population’s migration tendencies, reflecting both the hopes of the young and the wisdom of the old. Exhibit 1 illustrates net domestic migration by state in 2022, showing that Arizona landed fourth behind Florida (249,064), Texas (174,261), and North Carolina (82,160), with 77,995. Conversely, the states with the lowest net domestic migration in the same period were California (-341,866), New York (-244,137), and Illinois (-115,719). From the verdant enthusiasm of youth to the seasoned sagacity of older generations, the ACS unravels the tale of who comes and goes, shedding light on the forces that sculpt our communities.

Exhibit 1: Net Domestic Migration by State, ACS 2022 1-Year Estimates, Ages 1 and Up

In our exploration of demographic shifts, our next stop takes us to the second exhibit, which builds upon the narrative of domestic migration by age through isolating working aged individuals 18-64 from adults 65 and older. Exhibit 2 illustrates net domestic migration of working age persons in 2022. Arizona ranked sixth out of the 34 states with positive net domestic migration of working age persons, growing by 44,066 individuals, with the top spots held by Florida (150,966), Texas (107,927), and North Carolina (57,433). California, New York, and Illinois similarly held the bottom three spots for net domestic migration of working age individuals, with -214,523, -159,516, and -92,706, respectively.

Exhibit 2: Net Domestic Migration of Working Age Individuals, ACS 2022 1-Year Estimates

Shifting our gaze to the seasoned members of our population, the examination of net domestic migration among individuals aged 65 and older provides an alternate perspective on demographic movements. Arizona ranks second in this measure, with a net domestic migration of 18,318, reinforcing the common belief that Arizona is an attractive retirement location. Its warm climate, picturesque landscapes, and vibrant communities have long beckoned older adults seeking an idyllic place to spend their retirement years. Florida was the only state with a higher net migration of older adults, drawing in 49,732 retirees. On the other end of the spectrum, mirroring the trend observed in earlier sections, California, New York, and Illinois once again hold the bottom spots for net migration of individuals 65 and older. These states experienced net migration losses of -45,057, -30,148, and -12,406, respectively, highlighting a consistent pattern among domestic migrants. Exhibit 3 illustrates net domestic migration of persons 65 and older in 2022.

Exhibit 3: Net Domestic Migration, Age 65+, ACS 2022 1-Year Estimates

Author: This story was written by Delaney O’Kray-Murphy, an EBRC research economist.