Perhaps everyone else knew this, but I certainly didn’t: most residents of the northwest US were born outside the state where they now live.  Roughly 53 percent of folks who live in Idaho and Washington, and 55 percent in Oregon, are transplants, born either in another state or country.  (For the record, I’m a wanderer too, born and raised on the east coast.)

For the most part, in-migrants came from other parts of the US, rather than overseas.  As of 2000, only 1 in 20 residents of Idaho, 1 in 12 residents of Oregon, and 1 in 10 Washingtonians were foreign-born. The rest of us came from other parts of the US.  (Of course, there’s some overlap here; some folks who were born in, say, Washington now live in Oregon. So there may be quite a few people who didn’t move far—but the Census site where we got these numbers couldn’t tell us specifics.) 

British Columbia, on the other hand, has a substantial population of international in-migrants: 1 in 4 residents of the province were born in another country, mostly in Europe or Asia.

I have no larger point here—other than a bit of surprise that, for a place that seems to have inspired genuine loyalty among its inhabitants, our roots may be a bit shallower than I’d thought.