Nearly 30% of Milwaukee area children who lived in the area at age 16 lived in another area by the time they reached the age of 26, according to research released Monday by the Census Bureau.
With 71% of those who grew up in the region still living in the Milwaukee area, the region is slightly ahead of the national total of 69%.
The research covers children born from 1984 to 1992 and the findings are based on federal tax data, decennial censuses in 2000 and 2010, the American Community Survey and Department of Housing and Urban Development address information. The data includes around 57,348 youth moving from the region and around 49,900 moving to the region.
Researchers at Harvard University found distinct migration patterns across different racial and ethnical lines as well as based on parental income levels.
Nationally, Black young adults moved 60 miles less than their white counterparts. Among Black youth who did move, Atlanta was the top destination followed by Houston, Washington DC and New York. For white youth who moved, top destinations were New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC and Denver.
While Denver was fourth most popular destination for white movers nationally, it was not in the top 10 for any other group. Similarly, Atlanta was the top destination for Black movers but ranked 15th
for white movers.
In Milwaukee, around 11% of those living in the region at age 16 had moved elsewhere in the state by age 26 and another 18% had moved to other states.
Top in-state destinations included Madison, accounting for 3.2%, Kenosha, 1.9% and Oshkosh, 1.8%. The Minneapolis region, which overlaps with Wisconsin, also accounted for 1.8%.
Chicago topped the list of out-of-state destinations, accounting for 2.3%. Denver was next at 0.72%, followed by Los Angeles at 0.71%, Phoenix at 0.66%, New York at 0.65%, Atlanta at 0.47%, Washington DC at 0.44%, Seattle at 0.42% and Houston at 0.28%.
Across all demographics, Milwaukee youth moved an average of 162 miles from the region, less than the national average of 181 miles.
White youth were more likely to move from Milwaukee with 33% living in a new region by age 26, including 19% in other states and 14% still in Wisconsin.
Black and Hispanic youth were less likely to leave the region with 20% and 21% respectively having moved elsewhere by 26. Just 4% of Black youth and 6.3% of Hispanic youth had moved to another area in Wisconsin.
On average, white youth moved 173 miles from the region while Hispanic youth averaged a 140-mile move and Black youth averaged 124 miles.
The research also found sharp differences in migration patterns based on parental income.
Nearly 40% of youth with parents earning in the top 20% had moved out of the region by age 26, including 26% who moved to another state. Among those moving out of state, Chicago led the way with 4.3% followed by New York, Denver and Los Angeles, each with more than 1%. The average move for this group overall was 226 miles.
For the middle 20% of parental income, 28% of youth had moved to another area, including 16% out of state and 12% still in Wisconsin. The average move was 152 miles.
For those in the bottom 20% of income, around 21% had moved to another region, including 14% out of state and 6.7% within Wisconsin. The average move was 117 miles and Kenosha and Oshkosh both outpaced Madison as a destination.
As for those living in Milwaukee at age 26, around 73% were from the region while 14% moved from elsewhere in the state and 12% came from out of state.
Kenosha was the top in-state origin area at 3.6% followed by Oshkosh at 2.5%, Madison at 2%, and Sheboygan and Green Bay, both at 1.2%.
Chicago was the top out-of-state origin area at 3.1% followed by Rockford at 0.44% and Detroit at 0.36%. Los Angeles, St. Louis, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Gary, Indiana, New York and Atlanta were other top origin areas.