They say the human body replaces itself, cell by cell, every seven years. Let’s ignore the fact that they’re wrong about that for the sake of the following analogy. The population of Humboldt County is growing rather slowly. (It increased by 6,424, or 4.8 percent, between 2000 and 2012, the most recent year available.) But those numbers don’t reflect the changing population, the people flowing in and out of Humboldt County, a never-ending process that’s sort of like (here comes the payoff!) a body replacing individual cells.
Today the U.S. Census Bureau released the “Census Flows Mapper,” an interactive migration map that lets you pick a county (we chose Humboldt) and see where people are moving from and to. So, for example, you can see that from 2008 through 2012, 184 people moved from Humboldt to Portland, Ore. (or Multnomah County, technically) while only 45 people moved from there to here. So, all told, we netted a loss of 139 people to those hipsters.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, here. We poked around and found some intriguing trends. Maybe you, dear readers, can help us make sense of them.
First, some broad trends. (All the following information represents the most recent data available, from 2008 through 2012.) Where do people come here from? Elsewhere in California and Southern Oregon, mostly, with a smattering of cosmic seekers from across the country:
And when folks leave (the traitors)? They still mostly stick around the Pacific Time Zone:
Shasta County got more of our residents (395) than any other county, followed by Del Norte (330), Los Angeles (251), Mendocino (214) and Sonoma (212).
When you zoom in a bit and start poking around, you find some real head-scratchers. Why, for example, did more than 100 Humboldt County residents pick up and move to Jasper County, Iowa, a relatively barren expanse of farmland east of Des Moines?
And why did 169 people move from Humboldt to Curry and Roosevelt counties in New Mexico, arid land bordering the Texas panhandle — the kind of place where the Chamber of Commerce brags about a windmill museum.
The answer, in both cases, appears to be military service. Officer training takes place at Camp Dodge Army Base, which is driving distance from Jasper County, Iowa,. And Cannon Air Force Base is just outside the town of Clovis, New Mexico.
Who’s giving us their people? SoCal! We got more than a thousand people from Los Angeles (785) and San Diego (307) counties from 2008-2012. Others fled their urban hellscapes, too. The top supplier of people from outside California was King County, home of Seattle, which sent us 167 new residents.
Keep poking around and you’ll see that we got 124 new people from Erie County, Ohio. What drew them here? We don’t know! There’s a Coast Guard base about an hour away, in Cleveland, but Cuyahoga County didn’t send us anyone.
Go poke around the map for yourself and see what you can find. (It’s a time suck, so beware.) And post your theories on the stranger trends in the comments below.