Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Mega-Regional Migration

I previously voiced skepticism about the concept of mega-regions. I used as an example the cities of Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati, which are close enough geographically that they seem like a logical expanded region, yet found few practical ways for those cities to collaborate.

Well, Jeff of Daytonology turned me onto this handy web site at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that provides easy clickable access to migration data. It shows the estimated migration from county to county in the United States from 2000-2005 based on IRS tax return data. This is a standard source for intra-census migration figures. The Census Bureau has downloadable raw data files, but I’ve not found the leisure time to create a database of it.

In the meantime, I used the web data above to draw the following chart. It shows the migration between our proposed super-region of Indianapolis, Louisville, and Cincinnati. For fun, I threw in Columbus.

I notice a few things. Firstly, the Cincy-Columbus flow is by far the heaviest, showing the importance of in-state ties. I wonder how much of this could be accounted for by Ohio State University? Also, the Louisville-Columbus flow is the weakest, as one would expect from the greater distance between those cities. Indianapolis is the domestic migration champion of the Midwest, and these figures show this, as Indy has a modestly positive migration balance with all three cities.

I’m not sure what conclusions can be drawn from this. But it represents a data point to consider.

Topics: Demographic Analysis
Cities: Cincinnati, Columbus (Ohio), Indianapolis, Louisville

36 Responses to “Mega-Regional Migration”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Really interesting. Like all such things the devil is in the details. Migratory patterns need to be viewed from lots of angles to get a true view….and then what is the true view?

  2. adam says:

    Very interesting. I looked at the website and near the top of the list in the middle of a bunch of IN and neighboring state counties was Los Angeles. I wonder if there is any reason to this?

  3. mordant says:

    Interesting. I was confused by the diagram, though. Are the directions on the Indy-Columbus arrows reversed? Or are the numbers reversed? Or am I just not understanding the diagram? Also, both arrows between Louisville and Cincinnati are pointing toward Cincinnati.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Cofused too. Something is wrong with the Indy to Columbus flow.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I think it would be nice to see Dayton in there also, since it’s “inside” the mega-region you speak of. Additionally, it’s viewed as a manufacturing town in decline by many, so that would shed light on where those people went.

    I think a better analysis, though, would be to take a “donut county” view of the migration. Especially when you look at Dayton, it simply showed that more residents moved from Montgomery county to the eastern suburbs.

  6. The Urbanophile says:

    As for Los Angeles, my speculation is that it is Hispanic immigrants who are coming to Indianapolis and the Midwest via a traditional gateway city instead of directly from Mexico or elsewhere. You’ll note Los Angeles County CA, Cook County IL (Chicago) and Harris County TX (Houston) had big numbers, and are all big Hispanic ports of entry.

  7. The Urbanophile says:

    Sorry about those stupid graph errors – I fixed them. Please report any other problems. Thank you for letting me know.

  8. adam says:

    That makes sense.

  9. Jim Russell says:

    Government jobs likely explain the bulk of the C-bus/Cincy circulation. Furthermore, many students either don’t file or use their previous in-state address on their tax returns.

  10. CoryWilson says:

    It’s obvious, Indianapolis is the best of the region! FACT.

    Just kidding.

  11. The Urbanophile says:

    The way I see it, Cory, people voting with their feet is the ultimate compliment.

  12. Jefferey says:

    Indianapolis region is doing remarkably well in attracting in-migrants, though the core county of Marion is having a net loss (which is the case for every MSA on that diagram).

    It is just a very impressive performance…but is there something going on with the local economy to make the place attractive.


    For those interesed in Dayton I did a post looking at the core county of the Dayton MSA, so not a complete look.

    What was impressive was the out-migration to Florida.


  13. Da Ville says:

    I dunno if would declare Indy the ‘winner’. When % of metro population is calculated in the in/out you might get very different results on who the ‘winner’ is.

    Agree that Dayton should be added.

  14. Jefferey says:

    Indy MSA does have the most net in-migration as a porportion of the MSA population, in-state and out-state, combined.

    This is followed by Lexington, Louisville, and Columbus.

    Dayton, Toledo, Fort Wayne, and Ciny had net out-migratins.

    These aren’t raw numbers, just percentages. The raw numbers seem to be related to the size of the MSA.

    I’ll be blogging on this on Friday.

  15. The Urbanophile says:

    Jeff, you might be interested in seeing this post, though it doesn’t break down migration at all.


  16. Anonymous says:

    Da ville,
    Can you please do the correct calculations for us that shows who the true winner is? I suspect I know who that winner is.

  17. thundermutt says:

    Jeffery, I suspect those Dayton-Florida numbers have to do with union worker retirements.

    The numbers would “prove” this suspicion if the 55+ cohort is not growing as fast as the rest of the metros in the sample.

  18. Da Ville says:

    If you look at the core counties the picture is different:

    Jefferson -10,967 532,259 -2.06%
    Franklin -34,831 831,456 -4.19%
    Montgomery -18,211 419,248 -4.34%
    Marion -35,766 656,236 -5.45%
    Hamilton -51,134 620,830 -8.24%

    These numbers reflect Net migration in/out of all core counties. (Based on IRS returns and exemtpions claimed…which means total numbers are under-reported)

    Only Hamilton(Cinci) is losing a larger % of its core population than Marion (Indy). The core county losing the least as a % is…Jefferson (Da Ville).

    You can talk about metro area all you want to…but it is the core county that is the true-er sign of a cities health…all else is just sprawl.

    “holy nit wit batman, marion’s net migration out exceeds…montgomery county ohio…aka…Dayton”

  19. Gary says:

    Interesting chart Urban. Amazing how many people are still moving around the Indy Metro. Almost 40,000 plus moved to Hamiltion County. The way things are going Hamilton County could become it’s own metro in 10 more years.

    Daville I see you numbers and understand your point. But, I wonder what happened to the 135,000
    more people that the census bureau says lives in Marion county. Last time I checked their numbers they said something like 785,000 people live in Marion County.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Actually the 2007 estimated population of Marion County was 876,804. There seems to be a problem with the numbers.

  21. Da Ville says:

    The numbers are from the chart provided courtesy of the IRS. Supposedly current through 2005

  22. Patrick Sewell says:

    With all due respect, I don’t think “looking for ways to collaborate” is the point of the megaregions concept. On this blog, the comments devolved into a pointless discussion of whether or not the airports could specialize or if the cities could share sports teams.

    As I suggested then, look into Cities and the Wealth of Nations, by Jane Jacobs. She details specific examples of how cities (and, by extension, megaregions) can benefit through economic and political reforms. Has anyone read this?

  23. Anonymous says:

    Indianapolis(Marion County):
    1990 census 797,159 (-)
    2000 census 860,454 (+63,295)
    2007 estimated 876,804 (+16,950)
    1990-2007 (+80,245)

    Louisville (Jefferson County):
    1990 census 664,937(-)
    2000 census 693,604 (+29,001)
    2007 estimated 709,264 (+15,660)
    1990-2007 (+44,661)

    Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2007 Population Estimates, Census 2000, 1990 Census

    Seems likes a few people aren’t filing taxes LOL.

  24. Gary says:

    Anon 7:39

    The numbers are not a reprentation of population but only those listed as exemptions on taxes returns for a 5 year perion 2000-2005.

  25. Gary says:

    Urban I have come to the conclusion you are right on in your dim few of the mega region.

    What looks more likely is the city-region…which is a model we already have. Central Indiana is a great example. Should we not begin to look at “sprawl” as region building and a postive thing especially when you look closely at the patterns what you note is that almost all the ” out migration” of Indianapolis happened within the MSA and a little beyond. But, when you looked at the migration number against surrounding cities Indianapolis (core) seem to come out on top.
    Instead of looking at that as “sprawl” aren’t we in fact in the process of creating a “city region”. Hamiltion county is a great example. That county if you believe estimates has gone over quarter of a million people. It is creating a idenpendent identiy seaprate from Indy. Greenwood is making the same kind of moves. Yet, the two are are so closely economically connected. The same could be said for most of (CI) Central Indiana extending beyond what is defined as the MSA. Certainly Madison, Howard, Monroe, Bartholomew and stretching all the way up to Tippacone are vital part of the Indy city-region. There are three major and most consider world class universities in that “city region” and they seem to have pretty strong ties and compliment each other very well.

    One thing I did want to point out that I thought you should have noted in your blog was the numbers between Chicago and Indy. Those are some pretty big numbers that Indy came out on top of.

  26. Gary says:

    Additionally we don’t seem to have the polictical in fighting that some of our surrounding cities seem to have the hold them back from getting things done that benefit the region as a whole.

  27. Da Ville says:

    Sprawl “a good thing”???

    If separate identities are created in Indy’s surrounding counties you will recreate the very problems that Uni-Gov tried to solve but will end up be a much more difficult problem to solve. Indy needs to figure out how to keep Marion County strong or everything will be diluted.

    To put it bluntly: I rarely hear of someone planning a trip to Naperville…even more rarely would I hear of someone planning a trip to Greenwood or Carmel.

    For Cinci and Louisville…Marion’s continued demise only strengthens their position in the region

  28. Gary says:

    Urban I believe one of the biggest corner stones in building the “city region” will be a regional rail system. What better way to pull CI together with a way to easily move people around in a larger regional area.
    I forget to mention Delaware counting in my list of the “city region”. Muncie has long pushed for a rail line to Indy. That adds yet another university easily reached within the CI region.

  29. The Urbanophile says:

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    The vast preponderance of all migrations are within metro areas. Indianapolis MSA counties, for example, had total in-migration of 366,906, but 213,337 of that came from elsewhere in the MSA.

    I do agree that core city and county health is important. I certainly won’t minimize the challenges that Marion County has. It has a serious problems. Nevertheless, it is also a big destination of international migrants (not captured in these numbers). I do think overall MSA growth is the best way to assess a city-region, however. I think a key strategy of Indy’s future does need to be creating a true city-region, not just a core city or core MSA.

    As for Louisville, it is in the enviable position of having most of the MSA people and employment inside its core county. Part of the reason that it has low central county net outmigration is that there is not (yet) anyplace for them to migrate to. There is no equivalent of Hamilton County, Indiana or Warren County, Ohio there. The Southern Indiana riverfront is nothing like the Northern Kentucky riverfront. Nevertheless, I believe this is an artifact of Louisville’s smaller size. Cincy saw the core county decline first, now Marion is getting it, and Louisville’s day it yet to come. When Oldham County comes into its own, let’s see how Louisville fares. In my view, the city has about 15 or so years left to get itself ready for the battle.

  30. thundermutt says:

    Da Ville:

    You write as if Marion County is shrinking…which is not true.

    The absolute truth is that Indianapolis is attracting new residents from outside the region, and attracting more of them than surrounding metros. As is pointed out elsewhere, Indy is attracting jobs too.

    I understand Marion County’s challenges, but do not believe they are intractable or as serious as those faced by Detroit and Cleveland…or Louisville. For example: do you know where the only K-12 International Baccalaureate program is offered in the metro area?

    It’s in those love-to-hate-em IPS Schools.

    That’s merely one reason to be optimistic that the growth in Marion County is supportable and sustainable.

    Now, let’s look at Louisville in the 21st Century: three of its largest private employers are in airfreight (UPS), appliance manufacturing (GE), and truck manufacturing (Ford).

    Not a winning combo. And what happens if GE sells its remaining consumer-brand business to a South Korean, Chinese or Indian entity later this year (as Thomson did with TV) and Ford doesn’t put a small fuel-efficient vehicle in its assembly plant to replace the Explorer and F-150?

  31. Da Ville says:

    Folks have been migrating to Oldham, Bullit, Shelby etc on the Ky side for many years. In the case of Oldham, it is almost 100% bedroom community. There are no major employers in Oldham. That is less true of Bullitt, Shelby in Ky or the Southern Indiana Counties. Because of proximity to the airport, Bullitt is getting more and more job creation which will increase its net in-migration.

    The East End bridge (if ever completed) could hasten migration to Southern Indiana counties particularly as the former Army Munitions complex has 1000’s of acres of prime commercial development property. That chunk of the metro has always been inaccessible and is probably the reason the Louisville MSA has not kept up with Indy/Cinci MSA growth. That changes with the East End Bridge.

    Southern Indiana is definitely not NKY but it is improving. The most sprawl in the MSA can be expected along I65 South; I64 East and in areas along the Snyder Freeway. Southern Indiana will get much growth once the East End Bridge is completed (likely less than 15 years)

    What happens then? Much will depend on efforts to redevlop the West End/Portland areas along with continued redevlopment of downtown.

    Regardless, the Louisville MSA will be larger in 15 years and likely that Jefferson’s population will also be larger.

  32. Da Ville says:

    Regarding large employers…UPS is hardly struggling and will be an engine of growth for many years; Humana would come in at #2; Ford is committing to keeping both plants open and at least one will produce small fuel efficient cars; GE (the latest anyway) is that it will be spun off as a separate Fortune 500 type company likely to be HQ’d in Louisville.

    A winning combo…I would bet yes. Along with it is Yum, Papa Johns, Pharmerica, Kindred, Brown-Forman etc etc

    I would predict the Louisville MSA actually will grow at a faster clip than Indy or Cinci over the next 15 years. That growth is not likely to change the size rankings which will remain the same: Cinci, Indy, Louisville

    (The next spurt of growth in fact will be a result of UPS/DHL deal likely to generate 4-5K new jobs over the next yr or 2 as they migrate the work from Southwest Ohio)

  33. Da Ville says:

    An update on Louisville ‘mega-projects’:

    Arena Funding to be finalized 8/28. Demolition/Site work continues. $450M

    City Center agreement closed with Cordish. 2009 start expected. $425M

    Museum Plaza – site work valued at $20M continues. $465M

    Other: PapaJohn’s expansion to 65,000 to start Dec 08. UPS just provided $20M toward the project. $75M

    Bridges Project: Ky Gov Beshear supports both bridges. Looking to cut whatever fluff there may be but bridges will be built ($2.5B)

  34. Jefferey says:

    I did a post on metro area in- & out- migration for the "mid Ohio Valley" to see how things look regionally, over at UO:


    Some interesting numbers, and Indy is pretty impressive.

    One observation: economic diversity=in-migration. Too much manufacturing= out-migration.

    And every "core county" (the county with the big city for a MSA) is seeing out migration.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I believe the Courier-Journal said the deal with Cordish was for $200 million but may reach 435 million in 10 years. That’s 43.5 million a year over 10 years.

  36. Gary says:

    Da ville,

    Not a word about the earth shattering finance deal for the arena today? What’s up?

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