5th District Footprint provides a spatial analysis of data relevant to community development in the Fifth District. The publication is available online quarterly.
This issue of 5th District Footprint explores changes in the net migration rates of individuals within Fifth District counties from 2011 to 2015.
This issue of 5th District Footprint explores changes in the net migration rates of individuals within Fifth District counties from 2011 to 2015. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates net migration rates annually by expressing the net number of individuals that moved into a county from the U.S. (domestic migration rate) and abroad (international migration rate) as a percentage of the county’s total estimated population. The difference between the net migration rate measured from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, and the net migration rate measured from July 1, 2014, to June 30, 2015, indicates whether a county experienced an increase or decrease in the net migration rate in the years since the 2010 decennial census. An increase in net migration rate means that the ratio of in-movers to out-movers was greater in 2015 than in 2011, while a decrease means that ratio was smaller in 2015 than in 2011.
Among the Fifth District states and the District of Columbia, net migration rates decreased in the District, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia from 2011 to 2015. The District experienced the largest decrease, with a 4.6 percentage points decline from 17.0 percent to 12.4 percent. This decrease was primarily driven by a decline in the District’s, net domestic migration rate, which fell from 11.6 percent to 5.6 percent. West Virginia was the only Fifth District state in which a decrease resulted in a shift from net positive migration (1.1 percent in 2011) to net negative migration (-1.8 percent in 2015). North Carolina and South Carolina both had increased rates of net migration from 2011 to 2015. South Carolina had the largest increase, with a 6.5 percentage points increase in its net migration rate (4.3 percent to 10.8 percent), which was primarily driven by a 6.2 percentage points increase in net domestic migration (3.2 percent to 9.4 percent).
At the county level, 49.0 percent of the 359 Fifth District counties experienced a decrease in the net migration rate, and 51.0 percent experienced an increase. Of the 176 counties that experienced a decrease in net migration, 59 counties (33.5 percent) experienced a shift from positive net migration to negative net migration. Of the 183 counties that experienced an increase in net migration, 61 counties (33.3 percent) experienced a shift from negative net migration to positive net migration. The county-level changes in net migration rates ranged from a 61.5 percentage points decrease in the City of Fredericksburg, Virginia, (46.8 percent to -14.7 percent) to a 46.7 percentage points increase in Greensville County, Virginia, (-18.4 percent to 28.3 percent).
Throughout the Fifth District, net migration rate changes were primarily driven by domestic migration, as 97.5 percent of Fifth District counties experienced a greater change in the net domestic migration rate than the net international migration rate. For example, the City of Fredericksburg’s 61.5 percentage points decrease in net migration rate was the result of a 61.6 percentage points decrease in net domestic migration rate and a 0.1 percentage point increase in net international migration rate. Onslow County, North Carolina, experienced the largest increase in net international migration, with a 6.1 percentage points increase from 2.0 percent to 8.1 percent. Onslow County is home to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, the largest Marine Corps base on the East Coast with an active duty population of 47,000 marines and sailors.1 Consequently, this increase may reflect military personnel returning from deployment abroad, rather than individuals migrating from abroad.2
The City of Alexandria, Virginia, had the highest net international migration rate in the Fifth District in both 2011 and 2015, and experienced a 2.6 percentage points increase over that time period (12.7 percent to 15.3 percent). In contrast, 21 counties had a net international migration rate of zero in 2011, and these rates remained relatively unchanged in 2015 with changes ranging from -0.3 percentage point to 0.1 percentage point. One county in South Carolina, five counties in Virginia and seven counties in West Virginia had no change in net international migration from 2011 to 2015.3
The U.S. Census Bureau defines net international migration as the international migration of both native and foreign-born populations including: (a) the net international migration of the foreign born, (b) the net migration between the U.S. and Puerto Rico, (c) the net migration of natives to and from the U.S., and (d) the net movement of the Armed Forces population between the U.S. and overseas.
These counties are Calhoun in South Carolina; Appomattox, Charles City, Craig, Highland and Surry in Virginia; and Calhoun, Lewis, Pleasants, Taylor, Tucker, Tyler and Wyoming in West Virginia.