INDIANAPOLIS — A new study shows most young people do not move far from their childhood home.
The study by researchers at the U.S. Census Bureau and Harvard University examined the migration patterns of young adults, exploring where people go between childhood and young adulthood. The study found nearly six in 10 young adults live within 10 miles of where they grew up. Eight in 10 young adults live within 100 miles.
The dataset draws from census, survey, and tax data for people born from 1984 to 1992. The childhood locations are measured at age 16 and locations in young adulthood are measured at age 26.
The data shows the average young adult who grew up in the Indianapolis area moved about 149 miles away for their job. This is 32 miles below the national average of 181 miles.
The majority of people who grew up in the Indianapolis area stayed. The data shows that 73% remained in the area. Of those who moved away, the Chicago area was the primary destination followed by Muncie.
The data also shows that there are significant differences in migration patterns by race/ethnicity. Black young adults from Indianapolis moved, on average, 56 fewer miles than white young adults — 99 miles vs. 155 miles. This is because more white young adults moved away from Indianapolis.
For white young adults who moved away from Indianapolis, Chicago, Muncie, and Bloomington were the most common destinations. For Black young adults who moved away from Indianapolis, the most common destinations were Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles.
The data shows a large difference between people whose parents had wealth vs those who did not. People who grew up in Indianapolis whose parents were in the bottom 20% of income moved, on average, 97 miles. Around 80% of those individuals stayed in the Indianapolis area. Those who moved primarily went to Muncie or Bloomington.
In comparison, those who grew up in Indianapolis whose parents were in the top 20% of income moved, on average, 218 miles. Only 64% of those individuals stayed in the Indianapolis area. Those who moved primarily went to Chicago or Los Angeles.
You can see where people who grew up in your area ended up by visiting the Migration Patterns page.