This is a revamp of an article we published last September after the US Census Bureau released a set of instructions on how to use this fascinating tool.
There was so much going on with COVID at the time that the article wasn’t very successful.
So I’m going to repost it on this slow long weekend. You must follow the links to explore the tool yourself. You can learn a lot about where newcomers to the county come from and where people who leave the county go.
Have you ever wondered where the people who settle in Cobb County come from? Or for that matter, where are people heading away from the county?
The US Census Bureau has an interactive map that can help you discover the flow of people moving to and from the county.
The mapping tool is called Census Flows Mapper, and the Census Bureau announced that it updated the tool with data from the 2015-2019 American Community Survey.
When you visit the map, available by following this link, you have the option to enter a county (or metropolitan area) name in the upper left corner. See the red arrow in the image below:
I’ll enter “Cobb County”, but you can actually enter any county or metropolitan area you’re interested in. You will be taken to a card that looks like this:
Note that the map is color coded. Different colors indicate net migration. You can find out if the migration is to or from Cobb County by clicking on one of the counties on the map. If it shows a negative number, it means the stream was from Cobb County to the selected location. A positive number means the direction of migration was in Cobb County.
It may also be easier to view the results in tabular form. At the top of the map, there is a tab labeled View Data Table. If you click on it, it takes you to a view that looks like this:
If you click on the column labeled “Total”, the data will be sorted by net migration.
My first click showed that the top places people moved to if they left Cobb County were Cherokee County, Douglas County, and Clarke County (all in Georgia).
The second click, sorted with the net positive at the top of the table, showed that the top three places of migration to Cobb County were Fulton County, DeKalb County (both in Georgia), and Cook County, in Illinois.
You can also export the data to a CSV (comma separated values) file so you can use it in your favorite spreadsheet program.
For a more detailed tutorial on using the Census Flows Mapper, watch the video I’ve embedded below: