Will "the Mighty" Strohl

Forbes: Where Americans Are Moving

A very cool link was just posted by one of my Facebook friends for an interactive feature on the Forbes website.  This feature allows you to click on a specific county in the United States, and it shows you how many people are moving in and out of that county.  Unfortunately, this data isn’t even close to being recent, as it is using data from 2008.  I am very interested to see 2009, and 2010 when it’s available.  Regardless, this is a very cool, but interesting tool to use and play with.

Map: Where Americans Are Moving (via Forbes)

This is especially relevant to me since I am moving to San Francisco in a very short period.  So, I decided to check Orange County, FL and San Mateo County, CA, which is my current moving path.  First, I checked Orange County.  (The red lines are outbound moves.)

Forbes Moving Migration: Orange County, FL

In this view, it clearly looks like people are fleeing Central Florida.  As a resident, I can tell you that since the job and housing market became hosed, this is indeed true.  Numerous friends and acquaintances have sought out and found employment elsewhere for any number of reasons.  The main two have been to get a better job, and to buy cheaper land and/or a house. 

In fact, depending on this data was aggregated, it may be slightly incorrect.  A number of people I have know also bought an additional home in other areas for a vacation or a planned retirement home, since the homes had gotten so cheap during the housing market crash.  If the map doesn’t account for this scenario, I am not sure how different it’d be.

Next, I checked the San Mateo area to see how their locals have been handling everything.  So I clicked on San Mateo county.

Forbes Moving Migration: San Mateo County, CA to Orange County, FL

This is a drastically different image.  You can easily see that far fewer people are leaving the San Mateo (South San Francisco Bay) area.  You can make many assumptions considering the information I have given you thus far.  It would be my opinion that the economy, while not so great for the state of California overall, is doing just fine in the Bay Area.  People are happy with their current situations, hence the lack of moves. 

To further prove that point, pay attention to the black lines in the map.  Those are inbound moves.  It’s far easier to see a visual of how many people are moving INTO that area, then in the previous map.  I am encouraged to say the least!  :)

Another (almost hidden) feature of this map is that you can hover over the individual counties to get a more granular or detailed view of a single county to county migration.  Sweet!

Play with this map yourself.  I found it to be informative and insightful, if not just plain fun.  Enjoy!

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