States with the highest percentages of homegrown residents

The Census Bureau recently released statistics about which states have the most residents who were born in that state:

Nationally, on average, 60 percent of people are living in their native state. According to a Governing Magazine analysis, states in the interior South and Midwest tend to have a higher percentage of natives. Louisiana tops the list, with 79 percent of its population born there.

Among large metro areas, Birmingham ranks near the top: 74 percent of the metro population was born in Alabama, the 6th-highest percentage of homegrown residents among the top 50 U.S. metros…

Jim Williams, executive director of the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama, has spent years trying to persuade governments to adopt changes to governmental practices developed in other states. Progress is difficult, he said…

There is a lot of literature in sociology and psychology establishing that a lack of contact with other groups tends to maintain stereotypes, Fording said. Conversely, contact between groups tends to overcome stereotypes.

Here is the list of the top 10 states: Louisiana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Iowa, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Alabama.

It is a little difficult to look at this list and see the exact traits these states share. The regions and the cultures are similar in the South and Midwest though this doesn’t apply to Pennsylvania (maybe the western half but not so much the eastern half?) or maybe West Virginia. Other factors that may be influential:

1. Immigration rates.

2. Lack of world/global cities which tend to attract diverse groups of people.

3. Lower levels of education?

4. Density of population/more rural areas.

It would be interesting to ask residents of these states why they stay. It is one thing to stay because one likes the place versus the opportunities to move elsewhere are lacking. While Americans might romanticize small town life and talk about establishing roots, this likely varies from place to place. Certain values, such as interacting with people different from oneself or having access to cultural amenities or always being willing to move to follow job opportunities, could then trump geographic stability.

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