Is Your State Magnetic Or Sticky?

You know about red states and blue states. But what about "sticky" states and "magnet" states? Magnet states attract newcomers, while sticky states retain their native-born residents. Recently, the Pew Research Center separated the magnets and the stickies.

"Magnet states are ones where relatively few people living in the state were born there," Dee Cohn of the Pew Research Center explains. One such state is Nevada, where 86 percent of people living there are from out of state. Also magnetic are Arizona, Arkansas, Florida and Washington, D.C.

Sticky states, Cohn says, "are places with strong traditional cultures or distinctive kinds of features that make people want to stay." Topping the list is Texas, where 76 percent of people born in the state still live. Other sticky states include North Carolina, Georgia, California and Wisconsin.

A state can be both, too. "A lot of these are places in the South or the West that have been growing, but somehow managed to retain a high share of people born there," Cohn says.

Some sticky places are growing. When researchers asked people last year why they stayed, Cohn says the big reasons had to do with roots — like connections to friends or a feeling of belonging.

A lot of those sticky places are in the Midwest. Nearly half of adults in the Midwest said they'd never left. "The rate from year to year of people moving, even across the street or across the country, is down from its peak," Cohn says.

"A bad housing market could certainly drive down that rate," she says, "but it's been going down anyway. One reason is the country as a whole is getting older — people tend to move when they're young." Also, the number of two-career couples is on the rise. "It's a lot harder to arrange logistics of a move when you've got two jobs to think about."

Cohn also cites other research that shows poor and less educated people are least likely to move. States that have large shares of those groups might be stickier as well.



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