On The Road, Again

In the past on this page we have discussed where we are from and where we’ve lived. Baboons can be both wanderers and stay-at-homes. It can be a surprisingly tough mental exercise to walk back through your biography to list the places you’ve lived in the proper sequence, and for how long at each stop.

Likewise, each state of the union has a specific history of who happens to live there and from whence they came. Only demographers and other numbers geeks can find much enjoyment in looking over the columns of figures that tell those stories.

For the rest of us the info-graphics experts at the New York Times have developed 50 fascinating charts that display the data as strata – a cross section cut from each state’s census showing the last century’s changes in where residents were born.

Some of the curious things that appear:

Based on your personal history, you can get a sense for how common (or uncommon) you are in your current environment when birthplace is the sole yardstick. Back in the 1970’s I was part of a sliver (3%) of Illinoisans born in the Northeast. Now in Minnesota, my kind are still a rarity at a mere 2%. Rare as hen’s teeth. Precious as gold.

Sometimes we have to go out of our way to feel special.

After looking at this I’m left with the impression that people accumulate in specific places based on a variety of economic forces that drive them there. Because certain individuals may be rooted in place while others are entirely footloose, there is a variable and distinct human geology that defines each state.

Or maybe it’s just the wind.

Where are you headed?  

32 thoughts on “On The Road, Again”

  1. Ever North-ward. Iowa to Minnesota (with a detour to the greater East Coast, see below), next stop, Lake Superior, one way or another.

    I would bet 2 things-

    1) the demographers never looked, but around the 80s to early 90s, there was a small stream of Midwesterners headed to the East Coast to work in theatre.

    2) that stream has trickled off to nothing with the closing of so many regional theatres and opera companies. Places that were civic institutions that paid a good wage and produced quality work, gone, poof!


  2. Our family lived in central Iowa in the 1950s. Minnesota was the exotic, cool, beautiful place where we took vacations to escape Iowa”s flat, drab, hot summers. When my dad had a chance to start up his own company, there was never a doubt about where he would go. Minnesota was beautiful but also comfortably Midwestern. My family never lost the sense we had escaped the boring cornfields of Iowa and had gone to the beauty of Minnesota’s lakes.


    1. Like you, I grew up longing for Minnesota.

      Today, both my parents, born, raised and educated in Minnesota consider themselves to be Iowans, as do my brothers.

      My parents will, however, be buried in Minnesota


  3. Good morning. I agree with mig. North is good. I recently moved a little farer North going from Southern Minnesota to Minneapolis and I am not ready to go any farther North. Moving is not much fun. I hope to stay where I am from now on.

    My entire life has been spent in the Midwest. Over my life time I have lived in many places. However, they have all been fairly similar because people throughout the Midwest tend to be very similar in their approaches to life,


  4. We daydream about where we might go from here. Fantasies have included Hawaii, Asheville NC, Ukiah in N. Calif, Alaska (summers), Santa Fe area, St. Paul, and Lake Superior’s South Shore. None of them are serious, but once we cut loose of this place, really – anything could happen. Only thing we know is (according to Husband) we’ll be renting.


        1. I don’t mean come to Port;land; I mean, come to Altamont Summit apartments. My erstwife, who is visiting, has been amazed at how nice this place is. If anyone has Google Earth, you can find it by putting a search string in for “Altamont Summit Apartments.” My apartment is right above the right shoulder of the swimming pool (which looks like a T-shirt).

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Googled this up on regular google. Nice place ya got there, Steve. Bet it will be lovely in spring, but winters not fierce enough for my taste.


  5. I will likely be one of that great swath of Minnesotans whose ancestors came here from Northern Europe (Norway in my case) and we all pretty much decided this was “pretty good.” I haven’t had a solid reason or need to move away, and in all likelihood will stay here. Husband and I joke about him applying for jobs in New Zealand (which often seems to be looking for people in his line of work), but realistically we are rooted here.


  6. A man I was once in love with lives in Kauii. I don’t miss him so much as I do the long gone invitation to join him in paradise. The endless Facebook images he posts are so stunningly beautiful that they make you think, “These are just some guy’s paintings of imaginary landscapes”. And to think, if he’d not turned out to be a committed womanizer, I could be living in heaven. Sigh……………..


  7. Having already migrated halfway around the globe, I’d not rule out another move, at least during the winter months. The prospect of shoveling snow, driving on icy roads, and enduring the extreme temperatures of January and February, looks less and less inviting every year.

    But where would we go? That’s the question; we’d have to do a lot of research before moving. The Pacific Northwest is enticing in many ways, but the places we are familiar with are too expensive.

    Neither of us is keen on extremely hot temperatures either, so that rules out a lot of places – as do conservative demographics. But I’d be open to explore other options. Any suggestions? Here are our criteria: Moderate temperatures, liberal folks, a thriving arts community, not in danger of dropping into the ocean due to earthquakes, or in the path of seasonal hurricanes or tornadoes. Sounds more and more like Minnesota with a three month winter sojourn to Baja.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. We are from Minnesota and Wisconsin, and came to ND at the the height of the 1980’s oil bust. We plan to stay here as long as possible until children draw us to where they will be longer term. We will not live where the humidity is high. We need to live where the soil is rich.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Husband and I were both ABD when we left Winnipeg when husband did his psychology internship, and both of us needed a year or two (or more) to finish our degrees.We couldn’t really work in Canada due to immigration rules, and we were tired of being broke. ND was close to our advisor in Winnipeg, not too far from my parents in MN, and also provided us the opportunity to do rural mental health.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. My parents like(d) to say they were Minnesotans by choice. My mom came from Iowa and my dad from Kansas; and I believe they met while doing some social activism work in Ohio. A few years – okay, decades – later, I’m still here in MN. but deeply long for cooler summers, like those on the north shore of Lake Superior. And I’m not fond of winter here in the city; it gets so darn ugly here with the black snow, and the older I get, the less I like to shovel snow, and I hate driving on ice.

    I haven’t done much traveling at all, but when I went out to Seattle with youngest daughter (she to college: I went along mainly so she could bring more luggage along on the train) last fall, I liked it. I don’t necessarily want to live in the city of Seattle, but the climate in the pacific NW sounds almost perfect. My sister has told me about how fantastic Port Angeles, WA is – just down the road from Port Townsend – and it sounds very, very enticing. If you live in town, you won’t get enough snow to bother you, but if you want winter, just head for the mountains. The summer weather is cooler than the twin cities and there’s a big body of water there – not sure what else I could want.

    On the way back from Seattle, I took the train to Portland and then back to MN. I didn’t have enough time to look around the city, but the train ride out of Portland, along the Columbia River, was stunningly beautiful.

    My mom wanted to go to college in Oregon and study horticulture, but her father forbade it, so she went to college in Iowa, woo-hoo. But I think she’s always had some regret about that. She says she likes the four seasons of MN, but it’s hard to believe that she couldn’t have enjoyed the beauty and the climate of the pacific northwest.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not going any place. If, somehow, I change my mind about moving, I would look into going to a place near an ocean. A spot along the shore North of San Francisco would be nice. I would love to be in a place where I could walk along the shore of an ocean and explore the life found there in tide pools and other habitats along the shore line or go on a boat trips.


  11. Daughter recently informed me she wants to study Social Work in India for a semester, and possibly do another Social Work internship in South Africa for a summer, I just say “Ok, dear” and wait to see what will happen.


  12. Of course, it isn’t that some areas of the country are good or bad in terms of climate. It is all very personal, with different folks responding
    Three months in the Pacific Northwest have confirmed that I am thrilled by dry air. It wasn’t the cold of Minnesota that bothered me nearly as much as the sweltering, muggy heat of summer. Dry air is wonderful!

    The downside of this region’s climate–which I have yet to experience–is the overcast that sets in in winter and obscures the sun for weeks and weeks. Some folks go nuts when they don’t see the sun. I don’t dread that, but I have yet to live through a winter here. That weather depressed the hell out of Lewis and Clark.

    Meanwhile, I remain convinced that the nicest thing about Minnesota is Minnesotans (born there or migrants), and the very nicest Minnesotans are thos who populate this blog.


  13. Right now I am headed to Jerabek’s to see if I can get a last rhubarb bar. We are losing Jerabek’s once again.

    After that I am headed to Blevins’ book club where I hope to see many of you.


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