Map of the Month

Each month a new map is presented to the Commission to help explain important trends in the Bay Area, across the nation and around the world. These custom-crafted maps are prepared by MTC’s Data & Visualization team.

September 2014

Californian'S: Where We Came From And Where We Went

For several years, foreign immigration has been a hot topic in our political debate. However, the movement of people from one state to another can have an even bigger influence on our country's economy, politics and culture than immigration. These two charts depict where California residents were born, and where they have moved to. The ribbons are color-coded by region, and foreign-born residents are included at the bottom, in gray, to complete the picture for each state. We know that California has long been the destination of American dreamers from other states. These days, California no longer plays that role. Our residents are leaving for greener pastures out East. Today, the state is still pulling in foreign immigrants, but the percentage of American-born transplants has shrunk significantly as fewer people move into the state. In 1960, half of California residents were born in another U.S. state. Today, that's down to 18 percent. There are growing pools of Californians in nearly every state. It's quite a switch because through 1990 California led the nation in retaining its native-born population. There are now about 6.8 million California natives living elsewhere, up from 2.7 million in 1980.