Volume 40 - Article 40 | Pages 1153–1166  

IRS county-to-county migration data, 1990‒2010

By Mathew Hauer, James Byars


Background: The county-to-county migration data of the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) is an incredible resource for understanding migration in the United States. Produced annually since 1990 in conjunction with the US Census Bureau, the IRS migration data represents 95% to 98% of the tax-filing universe and their dependents, making the IRS migration data one of the largest sources of migration data. However, any analysis using the IRS migration data must process at least seven legacy formats of this public data across more than 2000 data files – a serious burden for migration scholars.

Objective: To produce a single, flat data file containing complete county-to-county IRS migration flow data and to make the computer code to process the migration data freely available.

Methods: This paper uses R to process more than 2,000 IRS migration files into a single, flat data file for use in migration research.

Contribution: To encourage and facilitate the use of this data, we provide a single, standardized, flat data file containing county-to-county one-year migration flows for the period 1990–2010 (containing 163,883 dyadic county pairs resulting in 3.2 million county-year observations totaling over 343 million migrants) and provide the full R script to download, process, and flatten the IRS migration data.

Author's Affiliation

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Migration’s contribution to the urban transition: Direct census estimates from Africa and Asia
Volume 48 - Article 24    | Keywords: migration, population growth, urbanization

Culture portability from origin to destination country: The gender division of domestic work among migrants in Italy
Volume 47 - Article 20    | Keywords: childcare, culture, epidemiology, gender, housework, migration

Endogamy and relationship dissolution: Does unmarried cohabitation matter?
Volume 47 - Article 17    | Keywords: endogamy, exogamy, migration, partnership dissolution, relationship type

The ethnic wage penalty in Western European regions: Is the European integration model confirmed when differences within countries are considered?
Volume 46 - Article 23    | Keywords: Europe, integration, migration, penalty, regions, wage discrimination

Nativity differentials in first births in the United States: Patterns by race and ethnicity
Volume 46 - Article 2    | Keywords: first birth, migration, race/ethnicity