Tracking migration with driver’s license data

Ranked by the number of previously licensed drivers who immigrated to Snohomish County from these other states or countries in the five years from 2008 to 2012.

State of origin Five years ending in 2012
1 California 10,747
2 Oregon 4,187
3 Texas 3,315
4 Arizona 2,835
5 Florida 2,831
Other countries 2,369
6 Michigan 1,692
7 Colorado 1,570
8 Nevada 1,570
9 Idaho 1,518
10 North Carolina 1,442
11 Utah 1,120
12 Illinois 1,110
13 Hawaii 1,090
14 Alaska 1,071
15 Kansas 1,006
16 Georgia 1,001
17 Virginia 977
18 New York 918
19 Montana 910
20 Minnesota 721
21 Ohio 709
22 Missouri 694
23 Pennsylvania 674
24 Wisconsin 674
25 Tennessee 547
26 New Mexico 487
27 Maryland 451
28 Oklahoma 449
29 Indiana 445
30 South Carolina 422
31 Alabama 419
32 New Jersey 414
33 Massachusetts 367
34 Louisiana 336
35 Iowa 319
36 Arkansas 312
37 Nebraska 271
38 Kentucky 237
39 Connecticut 212
40 Wyoming 188
41 North Dakota 178
42 Missippi 175
43 South Dakota 154
44 Maine 138
45 New Hampshire 110
46 West Virginia 70
47 Delaware 67
48 Rhode Island 65
49 Vermont 63
50 District of Columbia 50

Every month, the state Department of Licensing releases data on the issuance of driver’s licenses to new residents. The numbers are broken down by the county in which the newly arrived person lives, but the more interesting figures show where these residents came from. Here’s a look at the states of origin for immigrants to Snohomish County.

When someone obtains a Washington driver’s license, they must surrender the license issued by the jurisdiction from which they came. In Snohomish County, in the five years from 2008 to 2012, 77,277 previously licensed people were issued a Washington license.

The State Patrol also tries to track Washingtonians who move elsewhere and surrender their licenses in other states, but that data is hard to obtain, so a true measure of net in- or out-migration is not possible.

SOURCE: State Department of Licensing

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