A study released by Ball State University last week ranks Jefferson County in the bottom quarter of the state in terms of retaining residents.

The Center for Business and Economic Research conducted the study, "Indiana Migration Flows: An Analysis of IRS Data."

The study was authored by Phillip Morris, a graduate student at Ball State, and Dr. Dagney Faulk, whose research focuses on local tax policy and regional development issues.

The study looks at the ZIP codes used on tax returns supplied to the IRS, which are then analyzed by the U.S. Census Bureau to track population movements. Data from 2000 to 2001, 2006 to 2007 and 2009 to 2010 were used in this study.

During the first period, Jefferson County had a net migration of plus-292 people, which was seventh best of the 92 counties in the state. Jefferson County saw an increase of 300 new jobs from 1999 to 2000, which could be a cause for the increase in people moving to the county.

By the time the next results were tabulated for 2006 to 2007, Jefferson County's net migration had dropped to minus-141, 66th worst in the state. Most recently, the migration number dropped again to minus-208, which is 73rd in the state.

"The reasons for human migration fall into two categories: push factors and pull factors," the study said. "Push factors are negative conditions that drive people to move out of a location, whereas pull factors are conditions that attract people to move to a new area."

Among the conditions listed were economic, environmental, political and cultural reasons, including job opportunities, standard of living and education, among others.

From 2000 to 2001, Switzerland County had a net migration of plus-136, which was 14th best in the state.

Switzerland County has shown slight increases during the past two periods, with net migrations of plus-12 and plus-15 during the 2006 to 2007 and 2009 to 2010 periods, respectively.