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The Making of Modern America: Migratory Flows in the Age of Mass Migration

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  • Bandiera, Oriana
  • Rasul, Imran
  • Viarengo, Martina

Abstract

We provide new estimates of migrant flows into and out of America during the Age of Mass Migration at the turn of the twentieth century. Our analysis is based on a novel data set of administrative records covering the universe of 24 million migrants who entered Ellis Island, New York between 1892 and 1924. We use these records to measure inflows into New York, and then scale-up these figures to estimate migrant inflows into America as a whole. Combining these flow estimates with census data on the stock of foreign-born in America in 1900, 1910 and 1920, we conduct a demographic accounting exercise to estimate out-migration rates in aggregate and for each nationality-age-gender cohort. This exercise overturns common wisdom on two fronts. First, we estimate flows into the US to be 20% and 170% higher than stated in official statistics for the 1900-10 and 1910-20 decades, respectively. Second, once mortality is accounted for, we estimate out-migration rates from the US to be around .6 for the 1900-10 decade and around .75 for the 1910-20. These figures are over twice as high as official estimates for each decade. That migration was effectively a two-way flow between the US and the sending countries has major implications for understanding the potential selection of immigrants that chose to permanently reside in the US, their impact on Americans in labor markets, and institutional change in America and sending countries

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 9248.

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Date of creation: Dec 2012
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:9248

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Keywords: Ellis Island; migration accounting; migratory inflows and outflows;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Christian Dustmann & Joseph-Simon Görlach, 2014. "Selective Outmigration and the Estimation of Immigrants' Earnings Profiles," CESifo Working Paper Series 4617, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Johann Harnoss & Hillel Rapoport, 2013. "Birthplace Diversity and Economic Prosperity," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1304, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  3. Tim Hatton & Joseph P. Ferrie, 2014. "Two Centuries of International Migration," CEH Discussion Papers 23, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  4. Hillel Rapoport & Andreas Steinmayr & Christoph Trebesch & Toman Omar Mahmoud, 2013. "The Effect of Labor Migration on the Diffusion of Democracy: Evidence from a Former Soviet Republic," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1320, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
  5. Biavaschi, Costanza, 2013. "The labor demand was downward sloping: Disentangling migrants’ inflows and outflows, 1929–1957," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 118(3), pages 531-534.
  6. Biavaschi, Costanza & Giulietti, Corrado & Siddique, Zahra, 2013. "The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization," IZA Discussion Papers 7725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Jeanne Lafortune & José Tessada, 2012. "Smooth(er) Landing? The Dynamic Role of Networks in the Location and Occupational Choice of Immigrants," Documentos de Trabajo 427, Instituto de Economia. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile..
  8. Ran Abramitzky & Leah Platt Boustan & Katherine Eriksson, 2012. "A Nation of Immigrants: Assimilation and Economic Outcomes in the Age of Mass Migration," NBER Working Papers 18011, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Biavaschi, Costanza, 2013. "Fifty Years of Compositional Changes in U.S. Out-Migration, 1908-1957," IZA Discussion Papers 7258, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

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