Tucson Update - Migration



Tucson is a place of migration, the meeting of Frontera and Frontier. The long term ratio of in- to out-migration varies from 4:3 to 3:2. From 2000 to 2001, 50,433 people moved into the Tucson area and 35,300 moved out. 

Twenty-three percent of newcomer households moved here to accept a new job.  Leading states of origin are Arizona, California, Foreign/APO/FPO (military addressing), New Mexico, Illinois, Texas, Nevada, and Washington.  Half of our newcomers arrive during the summer.  Newly retired migrants have more education and higher incomes than do current residents.  Numerically, Phoenix leads as a source of in-migrants; Los Angeles is second; and Cochise County, Arizona (located east of Pima County) is third.  From Tucson, people migrate most frequently to Phoenix; San Diego; and Pinal County, Arizona. We export people to surrounding states, Texas, the South, and the Midwest.  Net migration is marked by college and military-age persons and those inexorably approaching their prime.  

Over 80% of renters have been in their present unit less than 18 months.  The average Tucsonan moves every 3.5 years; nationally, we move every 5.2 years.  At the time of Census 2000, over a quarter of Tucson area households had been in their present home for less than fifteen months.  Another third had been in their present home from fifteen months to five years.  Only 26% of Metro households had been in their present home more than 10 years.

Data on out-of-state car registrations in Arizona, allow us to draw a picture of the sources of state-level migration to Arizona. Numerically, leading states are California, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Washington, New York, New Mexico, and Michigan. However, if one adjusts these registrations for the population of the donor state, then a different picture arises. Using this method (a capture rate) we note that less populous western states lead the pack. Although California is the standout donor state, we receive relatively few cars from there when we adjust for its large population.

In 2002, the top-ranked states of birth for Arizona residents were:

Arizona – 34.68%

New York – 3.43%

Foreign born – 12.80%

Texas – 2.57%

California – 7.94%

Ohio – 2.55%

Illinois – 4.36%

Michigan – 2.48%

Links to Additional Migration Information:

Census 2000 Migration by Race and Hispanic Origin, 1995-2000  (Internet Link)

Pima County Migration Flows, Top 20 Counties: 1995-2000  (PDF 49KB)

Census 2000 Migration Data and Reports  (Internet Link)


Arizona Out-of-State Auto Registrations (Internet Link)