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Interstate migration has fallen less than you think: consequences of hot deck imputation in the Current Population Survey

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  • Greg Kaplan
  • Sam Schulhofer-Wohl

Abstract

We show that the significant drop in the annual interstate migration rate between the 2005 and 2006 Current Population Surveys is a statistical artifact. The Census Bureau’s imputation procedure for dealing with missing data before the 2006 survey year inflated the estimated interstate migration rate. An undocumented change in the procedure corrected the problem for the 2006 and later surveys, thus reducing the estimated migration rate. The change in imputation procedures explains 90 percent of the reported decrease in interstate migration between 2005 and 2006, and 42 percent of the decrease between 2000 (the recent high-water mark) and 2010. After we remove the effect of the change in procedures, we find that the annual interstate migration rate follows a smooth downward trend from 1996 to 2010. The 2007–2009 recession is not associated with any additional decrease in interstate migration relative to trend.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis in its series Working Papers with number 681.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:681

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  1. Katherine Curtis White & Kyle Crowder & Stewart Tolnay & Robert Adelman, 2005. "Race, gender, and marriage: destination selection during the great migration," Demography, Springer, vol. 42(2), pages 215-241, May.
  2. Charles Brown, 1981. "Black-White Earnings Ratios Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Importance of Labor Market Dropouts," NBER Working Papers 0617, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2010. "Interstate migration has fallen less than you think: consequences of hot deck imputation in the Current Population Survey," Working Papers 681, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  4. C. Hamilton, 1964. "The negro leaves the south," Demography, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 273-295, March.
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