Net migration

A map shows the areas of net migration for Dane County from 2007 to 2011.

A often-heard thought, perhaps fueled by nearly 20-year-old stories that called this area "the new promised land," is that there is a pipeline of low-income, low-education people moving from Chicago to Madison.

While it is true that the Chicago area is high on the list of areas from which new Dane County residents move, statistics show that more people migrate in the other direction.

And figures for education and income levels for those moving between Dane County and Illinois' Cook County don't appear to back up the popular perception.

From 2007 to 2011, 1,241 people moved from Cook County to Dane County, according to estimates released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau. That trails only Milwaukee County (2,363) and Columbia County (1,323) among U.S. counties for in-migration to the Madison area.

But Cook County is on top of the charts for out-migration from Dane County, with 1,976 people leaving in the same time frame.

That's a net migration (arrivals minus departures) of minus-735 people for Dane County, the biggest negative population swing for any of the counties to which it was compared.

The Census Bureau released the information as part of the 2007-2011 five-year American Community Survey estimates, measuring people who moved into a different county within a year during that period of time.

In all, Dane County had in-migration of 34,965 and out-migration of 26,708 for a net gain of 8,257 residents.

Here's a map showing counties' net migration with Dane County:

The differences in educational attainment between those leaving Dane County for Cook County and those moving the other way appear to be minimal.

For the group moving from the Madison area to the Chicago area, 83 percent have at least some college education compared to 77 percent for those moving from Cook County to Dane County.

Those moving to the Madison area from the Chicago area tend to have a higher income than those who moved the other direction.

Just over 32 percent of Dane County's migrants from Cook County had an individual income of $50,000 or more. Of those moving from Dane County to Cook County, only 22 percent were at that income level.

Milwaukee and Columbia counties are also among the top three most likely destinations for those leaving Dane County. Here's a look at where those who left Dane County ended up:

The Census Bureau included some non-U.S. areas in the in-migration totals. Asia ranked behind only Milwaukee County in areas from which Dane County drew new residents, with 2,162 people moving.

Our map below, however, shows only U.S. counties for numbers of people who moved to Dane County. Hennepin County, Minn., where Minneapolis is located, is among the top locations from which Dane County draws.

The data reported by the Census Bureau are estimates, so there is a margin of error involved.

Here are the numbers from the Census Bureau report:

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