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County in every state with the most born-and-bred residents

  • County in every state with the most born-and-bred residents

    American culture was born out of a sense of exploration and a desire to settle new land. From ancestors of today's indigenous populations arriving from Asia more than 15,000 years ago, to that storied group of Europeans who landed at Plymouth in 1620, this mentality of charting new courses has led to a country that today stretches over 3.797 million square miles.

    Americans still change their addresses at higher rates than most other countries, but that “move, move, move” mentality may be shifting. In 2016, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that only 11.2% of respondents had moved within the last year. Additionally, 72% of Americans reported living in or close to the city they grew up in. To learn more about where people are staying put, Stacker set out to compile a list of the top three counties in every state that have the most born-and-bred residents using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates (from 2014-2018) released in December 2019.

    A born-and-bred resident is defined as a person who lives in the state where they were born. The counties in every state are ranked according to the percentage of the county population that was born in the county’s state. Please note that this dataset does not account for residents who might have moved away for a period of time and then came back to their hometowns, nor does it show the percent of the population that was born in the same state, but a different county.

    From the smallest county in the country to one that covers nearly 20,000 miles, read on to find which counties in your state has the most born-and-bred residents.

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  • Alabama: Lowndes County

    - #1 county: Lowndes County (population: 10,236)
    --- Born in Alabama: 9,247 (90.34% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 957 (9.35% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 32 (0.31% of population)
    - #2 county: Greene County (population: 8,426)
    --- Born in Alabama: 7,610 (90.32% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 808 (9.59% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 8 (0.09% of population)
    - #3 county: Hale County (population: 14,887)
    --- Born in Alabama: 13,149 (88.33% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,652 (11.10% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 86 (0.58% of population)

    Located in south-central Alabama, in the state’s Black Belt region, Lowndes County was established in 1830. The dark, nutrient-rich soil in the area has allowed the agriculture industry to flourish for the past 190 years, with many long-time residents growing cotton, corn, and potatoes. Lowndes County is also well-known for being at the forefront of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and is home to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the earliest incarnation of the Black Panthers.

  • Alaska: Kusilvak Census Area

    - #1 county: Kusilvak Census Area (population: 8,198)
    --- Born in Alaska: 7,778 (94.88% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 331 (4.04% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 89 (1.09% of population)
    - #2 county: Bethel Census Area (population: 18,040)
    --- Born in Alaska: 15,808 (87.63% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,865 (10.34% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 367 (2.03% of population)
    - #3 county: Northwest Arctic Borough (population: 7,734)
    --- Born in Alaska: 6,628 (85.70% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,009 (13.05% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 97 (1.25% of population)

    The Kusilvak Census Area might be the largest county-equivalent on our list, covering 19,673 square miles. The rural setting offers limited gainful employment options, which has led to a per-capita income of $12,578. Kusilvak is the fourth poorest county in the entire United States, with some 35% of its population living in poverty.

  • Arizona: Apache County

    - #1 county: Apache County (population: 71,522)
    --- Born in Arizona: 53,037 (74.15% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 17,294 (24.18% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 1,191 (1.67% of population)
    - #2 county: Greenlee County (population: 9,504)
    --- Born in Arizona: 6,512 (68.52% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 2,689 (28.29% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 303 (3.19% of population)
    - #3 county: Navajo County (population: 108,705)
    --- Born in Arizona: 74,105 (68.17% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 31,436 (28.92% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 3,164 (2.91% of population)

    Once inhabited solely by Navajo and Apache tribes, Arizona’s Apache County is home to 25% of the state’s Native American residents. Reservations and protected lands, including the Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert, cover a combined 87% of the county. However, the largest employer in the area is not, as you might imagine, the state, but the four hospitals that care for the thousands of locals.

  • Arkansas: Prairie County

    - #1 county: Prairie County (population: 8,244)
    --- Born in Arkansas: 7,078 (85.86% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,161 (14.08% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 5 (0.06% of population)
    - #2 county: Arkansas County (population: 18,124)
    --- Born in Arkansas: 15,363 (84.77% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 2,626 (14.49% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 135 (0.74% of population)
    - #3 county: Dallas County (population: 7,432)
    --- Born in Arkansas: 6,281 (84.51% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,086 (14.61% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 65 (0.87% of population)

    Des Arc, one of Prairie County’s seats, was the earliest settlement in the state of Arkansas with a group of Creole families arriving as early as 1810. Since its founding, the rich, flat land of Prairie County has been prime farmland, with cotton, rice, soybeans, and wheat being the area’s main crops. After 210 years, the county’s water supply, which has faithfully fed these crops, has begun to dry up, and the region is now tasked with finding ways to better manage its water so its agricultural legacy can endure.

  • California: Tuolumne County

    - #1 county: Tuolumne County (population: 53,932)
    --- Born in California: 39,574 (73.38% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 11,929 (22.12% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 2,429 (4.50% of population)
    - #2 county: Lassen County (population: 31,185)
    --- Born in California: 22,738 (72.91% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 6,821 (21.87% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 1,626 (5.21% of population)
    - #3 county: Tehama County (population: 63,373)
    --- Born in California: 46,165 (72.85% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 11,649 (18.38% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 5,559 (8.77% of population)

    In 1848, gold was discovered in Tuolumne County causing thousands of prospectors to flood the area in hopes of building their own fortunes. Located just 133 miles east of San Francisco, the county has built its entire economy off of its natural resources—from gold to timber, apple orchards to cattle ranches, and even tourism. This natural predisposition to prosperity combined with the average 325 days of sun each year, are surely both factors that lead many native residents to stick around.

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  • Colorado: Conejos County

    - #1 county: Conejos County (population: 8,142)
    --- Born in Colorado: 6,441 (79.11% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,496 (18.37% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 205 (2.52% of population)
    - #2 county: Cheyenne County (population: 2,039)
    --- Born in Colorado: 1,445 (70.87% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 433 (21.24% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 161 (7.90% of population)
    - #3 county: Washington County (population: 4,840)
    --- Born in Colorado: 3,179 (65.68% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,509 (31.18% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 152 (3.14% of population)

    Originally settled by Spanish-speakers migrating north from Mexico, Conejos County derives its name from the Spanish word for rabbit (conejo) thanks to its large population of the furry mammals. The flat expanses of desert land in the county have kept it scarcely populated, but those who do live here primarily work in agriculture, the area’s biggest industry, growing everything from barley to cabbage to alfalfa. For many life-long residents, it’s the outdoor recreation opportunities, like camping, hiking, fishing, and hunting, that keep them around.

  • Connecticut: Litchfield County

    - #1 county: Litchfield County (population: 183,031)
    --- Born in Connecticut: 119,453 (65.26% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 49,127 (26.84% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 14,451 (7.90% of population)
    - #2 county: Middlesex County (population: 163,368)
    --- Born in Connecticut: 105,492 (64.57% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 45,381 (27.78% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 12,495 (7.65% of population)
    - #3 county: Tolland County (population: 151,269)
    --- Born in Connecticut: 94,468 (62.45% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 46,099 (30.47% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 10,702 (7.07% of population)

    A stone’s throw from New York City, Litchfield County is a popular weekending spot for wealthy city dwellers looking for a bit of country calm. Once a farming region, LItchfield in the late 1700s became a cultural and commercial center with the nation’s first law school and the Litchfield Female Academy, one of the first schools for higher education for girls. Today, tourism and hospitality are the northern Connecticut county’s biggest industries.

  • Delaware: New Castle County

    - #1 county: New Castle County (population: 555,133)
    --- Born in Delaware: 256,135 (46.14% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 237,213 (42.73% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 61,785 (11.13% of population)
    - #2 county: Kent County (population: 174,822)
    --- Born in Delaware: 80,317 (45.94% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 84,600 (48.39% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 9,905 (5.67% of population)
    - #3 county: Sussex County (population: 219,540)
    --- Born in Delaware: 89,662 (40.84% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 114,190 (52.01% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 15,688 (7.15% of population)

    New Castle County was founded in 1637 and is the oldest of Delaware's three counties. New Castle is now a National Landmark Historic Area and popular tourist attraction. However, that doesn’t mean that the county is stuck in the past—the vast majority of residents work in the modern industries of healthcare, education, and retail.

  • Florida: Baker County

    - #1 county: Baker County (population: 27,785)
    --- Born in Florida: 19,926 (71.71% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 7,371 (26.53% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 488 (1.76% of population)
    - #2 county: Gadsden County (population: 46,017)
    --- Born in Florida: 32,582 (70.80% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 10,995 (23.89% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 2,440 (5.30% of population)
    - #3 county: Calhoun County (population: 14,444)
    --- Born in Florida: 9,982 (69.11% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 3,949 (27.34% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 513 (3.55% of population)

    Just over the Florida-Georgia line, Baker County is a true country county with plenty of elbow room. With an average of only 46 residents per square mile, the county’s legacy as an agricultural hub holds strong even as many modern-day residents find work in manufacturing, logistics and distribution, and aviation services. State and national forests and parks cover thousands of acres in the area, providing residents with plenty of opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors.

  • Georgia: Wheeler County

    - #1 county: Wheeler County (population: 7,939)
    --- Born in Georgia: 7,015 (88.36% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 856 (10.78% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 68 (0.86% of population)
    - #2 county: Warren County (population: 5,346)
    --- Born in Georgia: 4,682 (87.58% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 586 (10.96% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 78 (1.46% of population)
    - #3 county: Wilkinson County (population: 9,078)
    --- Born in Georgia: 7,921 (87.25% of population)
    --- Born in another U.S. state or territory: 1,008 (11.10% of population)
    --- Born in another country: 149 (1.64% of population)

    Wedged between the Oconee River, the Little Ocmulgee River, and the Ocmulgee River, Wheeler County was established in 1912. A densely forested area, the county originally hosted huge sawmilling and naval stores industries, but today the vast majority of residents work outside the county in different areas. Still, Wheeler provides a family-centric, small-town community feel, with plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation and Southern hospitality.

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