by James Gregory
Over the course of the 20th century, more than seven million African Americans left homes in the South to resettle in northern and western states. Historians have long described this exodus as the Great Migration, great not just because of the numbers of people who moved but also because of the social and political consequences.
The interactive maps and data tables below provide detailed information about the movement of African Americans out of the South. Use them to investigate volumes and directions. The first map reveals decade-by-decade the number of southerners living in northern and western states. Select a state of origin and see where people went. Another map shows similar data for each metropolitan area where Black southerners settled. A third allows us to highlight a northern or western state and see which southern states contributed the most migrants. Or start with a southern state and see where its people went. Finally an interactive table provides the data behind these visualizations. The maps are hosted by Tableau Public. If slow, refresh the page. Here is more information about The Great Migration .
Move between six maps and tables by selecting tabs below
Source: These maps are based on research published in James N. Gregory, The Southern Diaspora: How the Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005). The U.S. Census data is from the Minnesota Population Center's IPUMS USA: Steven Ruggles, Katie Genadek, Ronald Goeken, Josiah Grover, and Matthew Sobek. Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 6.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2015, the following samples: 1900 1%, 1910 1%, 1920 1%, 1930 1%, 1940 1%, 1950 1%, 1960 1%, 1970 1% Metro FM1, 1980 1% Metro, 1990 1%, 2000 1%.
Maps and calculations: James Gregory.
Click to see map and charts Mapping the Southern Diaspora
Six maps and charts compare the migration patterns of all southerners: Asians, Blacks, Latinos, Natives, Whites.
Click to see map and charts Big Cities and Great Migrations
Who settled in the big cities of the North and West? Three interactive maps show the answers decade by decade.
The relocation to California of close to 400,000 Oklahomans, Texans, Arkansans, and Missourians during the Great Depression was the most publicized mass migration of that decade. Three interactive maps show various dimensions of the Dust Bowl migration.
Here are charts and tables showing who moved to each state and who left each state. Using birthplace information, we track decade-by-decade the population origins of California, Florida, Texas, Illinois, New York, Hawaii, and every other state, showing countries of birth and states of birth. Secondly, we show where people from each state settled, how many stayed and how many left.