Are Americans Moving From Blue To Red States?

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by Tyler Durden
Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024 - 09:45 AM

In the last couple of years, large U.S. states where a majority of voters support Democrats – so-called blue states – have been losing population, while some large red states, where there is majority support for Republicans, have gained residents.

An analysis of Census Bureau data shows that there are in fact some big movements of people from states currently defined as blue to those currently defined as red.

However, as Statista's Katharina Buchholz reports, the situation is more accurately described as more people exiting certain blue states – for example New York and California – and heading to other states in general, may they be red or blue.

In 2005 and 2022 alike, those moving from blue states have been almost equally splitting up between blue and red states.

Only their total number has been increasing, from 3.7 million or 2.4 percent of blue states’ population to 4.6 million or 2.7 percent of population in the given years, boosting migration to both red and other blue states.

Infographic: Are Americans Moving From Blue to Red States? | Statista

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At the same time, migration from red states has not changed as much – increasing only from 3.3 million in 2005 to 3.6 million in 2022. As in blue states, the split of destinations has stayed almost exactly constant over the years, with red staters choosing other red states 61-62 percent of the time and blue states only 38-39 percent of times.

This means that compared with the mid-2000s, blue states now transfer more than 500,000 more residents towards red states annually (and about as many within blue states). Inflows from red states to blue states have only increased by a little more than 100,000 per year in this time frame.

So while it might be true that a high cost of living and a (perceived) low quality of life is driving people away from certain blue states, this is not driving them towards red states more than in the past, relatively speaking.

Migration from abroad is also boosting U.S. populations.

In 2022, around 1 million more people immigrated into the United States than left the country. International migrants had traditionally chosen larger cities in both red and blue states, but this type of migration has diversified over the past decades.

While this leaves both states like Texas and New York with fewer (official) international arrivals, it has had a more detrimental effect in blue states that already suffer from domestic out-migration.

For the sake of this analysis, states are assigned the designation blue or red based on their vote in the last three presidential elections. For comparability, the definition of red states and blue states was not changed for 2005. Colorado, Virginia and Nevada – where domestic immigration has boomed recently – would technically be defined as red states, not blue, in 2005. However, patterns of migrations for these states are consistent between 2005 and 2022 instead of changing upon their reorientation, also supporting the hypothesis that U.S. migration flows are relatively constant and dependent on factors like location and proximity rather than politics.