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Report: Fewer Arizona natives choosing to move to California

Common thinking is that Arizona is fraught with California transplants, and a recent report suggests that might be true.

A series of New York Times graphics show that the opposite is also true: People departing Arizona go to California more than any other state, although not at the rate they used to.

The graphics show data as recent as 2012. In that year, 6 percent of people born in Arizona were living in California. Also noted in 2012: 9 percent had moved to another state in the West, 7 percent had moved to a state in the South, 4 percent moved to the Midwest and just 2 percent moved to the Northeast.

Here’s how the Times summed up the diaspora out of Arizona:

A large contingent of Arizona natives resettled in California in the early part of the 20th century. As recently as 1980, Arizona ranked just 30th among states in terms of the share of natives remaining in their home state. But today, more Arizonans are staying put; the state now ranks eighth. This is often true — states with heavy in-migration are also retain a larger share of natives.

If you caught that, Arizona ranks high for having its native-born citizens stay in-state — 72 percent to be exact. People born in the state aren’t exactly fleeing to California like they used to, especially in the mid-1900s. The Times said in 1940, 22 percent of people born in Arizona had immigrated to California. The same number was found in 1950; it dropped one percentage point by 1960, and has been on a steady decline every decade since.

When looking at who’s coming into Arizona and from where, California is the highest contributor, with 9 percent of Arizona’s 2012 population coming from The Golden State. Illinois (4 percent) and New York (3 percent) are other big contributors. As a region, the Midwest contributed 9 percent of Arizona’s population in 2012, while the West and Northeast were responsible for 5 percent apiece. Additionally, 15 percent of the nation’s 48th state came from out of the country.

These are the NYT’s comments on the migration into the Southwestern state:

Arizona is always in the news for how it deals with immigration from Mexico and Central America, but there has also been a change in domestic migration patterns. Long a destination for retirees from the Midwest, the state has experienced even more growth in recent years with transplants from California and other Western states.

California’s statistics suggest that more and more people are moving out and choosing another Western state. In 1950, 89 percent of people born in California had stayed put. By 2000, only 76 percent of people born in California remained there, while 11 percent had moved to another Western state by that time; fast forward to 2012, and those numbers are 75 and 12 percent, respectively.

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. (Here’s much more detail about California’s exodus.) There are now about 6.8 million California natives living elsewhere, up from 2.7 million in 1980.

In 2012, only 4 percent of Californians had emigrated from another Western state, while a whopping 28 percent came from outside of the U.S. Native-born citizens from Texas, Illinois, Missouri, New York and Oklahoma used to make big contributions to The Golden State’s population in the 19th century, but that was no longer the case in 2012. Arizona isn’t even mentioned individually when it comes to other states or regions that have fed California’s population.