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Internal Migration in the United States

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  • Raven Molloy
  • Christopher L. Smith
  • Abigail Wozniak

Abstract

This paper examines the history of internal migration in the United States since the 1980s. By most measures, internal migration in the United States is at a 30-year low. The widespread decline in migration rates across a large number of subpopulations suggests that broad-based economic forces are likely responsible for the decrease. An obvious question is the extent to which the recent housing market contraction and the recession may have caused this downward trend in migration: after all, relocation activity often involves both housing market activity and changes in employment. However, we find relatively small roles for both of these cyclical factors. While we will suggest a few other possible explanations for the recent decrease in migration, the puzzle remains. Finally, we compare U.S. migration to other developed countries. Despite the steady decline in U.S. migration, the commonly held belief that Americans are more mobile than their European counterparts still appears to hold true.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 25 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 173-96

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:25:y:2011:i:3:p:173-96

Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.25.3.173
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  1. Caroline M. Hoxby, 2009. "The Changing Selectivity of American Colleges," NBER Working Papers 15446, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Michael R. Haines, 1994. "The Population of the United States, 1790-1920," NBER Historical Working Papers 0056, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Raven E. Saks & Abigail Wozniak, 2011. "Labor Reallocation over the Business Cycle: New Evidence from Internal Migration," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 697 - 739.
  4. David H. Autor & David Dorn, 2013. "The Growth of Low-Skill Service Jobs and the Polarization of the US Labor Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(5), pages 1553-97, August.
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  8. John Kennan & James R. Walker, 2003. "The Effect of Expected Income on Individual Migration Decisions," NBER Working Papers 9585, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Schwartz, Aba, 1973. "Interpreting the Effect of Distance on Migration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(5), pages 1153-69, Sept.-Oct.
  11. Henley, Andrew, 1998. "Residential Mobility, Housing Equity and the Labour Market," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 414-27, March.
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  14. Bruce Fallick & Charles A. Fleischman, 2004. "Employer-to-employer flows in the U.S. labor market: the complete picture of gross worker flows," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2004-34, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  15. Gordon Dahl, 1997. "Mobility and the Returns to Education: Testing A Roy Model With Multiple Markets," Working Papers 760, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Industrial Relations Section..
  16. Dale T. Mortensen & Christopher A. Pissarides, 1993. "Job Creation and Job Destruction in the Theory of Unemployment," CEP Discussion Papers dp0110, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  17. W. A. V. Clark, 1985. "Human Migration," Book Chapters, in: Grant I. Thrall (ed.), Scientific Geography, pages 51 Regional Research Institute, West Virginia University.
  18. DaVanzo, Julie, 1983. "Repeat Migration in the United States: Who Moves Back and Who Moves On?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 65(4), pages 552-59, November.
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  21. Treyz, George I, et al, 1993. "The Dynamics of U.S. Internal Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 209-14, May.
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  1. The fall of internal migration
    by Economic Logician in Economic Logic on 2011-09-21 14:03:00
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