In a state long known as a haven for transplants from elsewhere in the country, Mohave County stands as having the lowest percentage of adult native-born residents than anywhere else in Arizona, as well as the second smallest native population in the entire country.
Governing magazine did an analysis of what percentage of every American county’s population was born in the state, and Mohave County had just 8.1 percent of its adult population born in Arizona. That gives Mohave the second-lowest percentage of native-born residents of any county in the lower 48 states, and third in the United States as a whole. The county’s population was about 207,000 as of 2017, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and Governing only included adults who are at least 25 years old.
Neighboring Clark County, Nev., which is home to Las Vegas, boasts a population that is only 7.8 percent Nevada-born. The least native-born county in the country is in Alaska. Denali Borough – the state is comprised of boroughs and census tracts, not counties – is just 7 percent native-born. Denali Borough’s population at the time of the 2010 Census was just 1,826.
Governing attributed the large percentage of resident born outside the state in Clark and Mohave counties to “steady streams of retirees” and Californians seeking lower costs of living. Mohave County also struggles to retain young adults, Governing reported, with no major universities and little in the way of job opportunities.
Of about 154,000 adults at least 25 years old in Mohave County, only about 12,000 were born in Arizona. Nearly 127,000 were born in other states, and nearly 13,000 hail from other countries.
Eleven of Arizona’s fifteen counties have majorities of their adult populations born outside of the state. Twenty-one percent of Maricopa County’s adult population is from outside the state, as were 26 percent of Pima County’s adults. Only Apache, Graham, Greenlee and Navajo counties have populations that are majority Arizona-born.
Some regions have large percentages of native-born adult residents because they tend to retain residents, especially younger adults, Governing wrote. Others simply have trouble attracting people from outside the state, which the article said was more common.
Only about half of American adults at least 25 years of age live in their home state, Governing wrote, citing Census Bureau data.
Governing’s map shows large swaths of the western U.S. with large non-native adult populations, a trend that’s also prevalent in Florida, population centers on the Eastern Seaboard, most of New Hampshire and Vermont, and various pockets throughout other parts of the country. The four highest percentages of native-born populations are in southern Louisiana.