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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 much of the recent reported decrease in interstate migration is a statistical artifact. Before 2006, the Census Bureau's imputation procedure for dealing with missing data inflated the estimated interstate migration rate. An undocumented change in the procedure corrected the problem starting in 2006, 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. Contrary to popular belief, the 2007{ 2009 recession is not associated with any additional decrease in interstate migration relative to trend.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16536.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16536.

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Date of creation: Nov 2010
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Publication status: published as Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2012. "Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey," Demography, Springer, vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16536

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  1. Greg Kaplan & Sam Schulhofer-Wohl, 2011. "Interstate migration has fallen less than you think: consequences of hot deck imputation in the Current Population Survey," Staff Report 458, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  2. C. Hamilton, 1964. "The negro leaves the south," Demography, Springer, vol. 1(1), pages 273-295, March.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
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