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Age articulation of U.S. inter-metropolitan migration flows


  • David A. Plane
  • Frank Heins


A fundamental divide in migration research has existed between aggregate studies of movement among geographic regions and micro studies of individual migrant behavior. Micro-scale studies have highlighted the importance of stage of life-cycle in predicting movement propensities, whereas many aggregate studies have focused on age-aggregated data summed over all origins for in-migration and over all destinations for out-migration. In this paper we show that if data for functional metropolitan-centered regions are employed, and if origin-destination specific streams of movement are analyzed, the age-specific patterns of inter-metropolitan migration within the United States cluster into distinctive patterns of flow representative of key stages of the life-course. In order to expose and portray a rich, age-articulated geography of U.S. migration we aggregate county-to-county migration flow data from the 1990 census for extended metropolitan regions: Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) Economic Areas. We calculate destination-specific out-migration rates broken down into 17 age groups for each origin-destination-specific migration stream between pairs of Economic Areas and present the results of a factor analysis of these flow-specific age profiles. We use the factor scores to cluster the very large number of origin-destination-specific age profiles and find that seven characteristic types emerge reflecting key mobility stages of the life course. We analyze the distinctive characteristics of the migration flows in each cluster and based on the prevalence of flows of each type within streams of gross in- and gross out-migration we present a typology of the 172 BEA Economic Areas. Our conclusion is that better understanding the age articulation of origin-destination-specific flow patterns would help advance regional science migration research. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Suggested Citation

  • David A. Plane & Frank Heins, 2003. "Age articulation of U.S. inter-metropolitan migration flows," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 37(1), pages 107-130, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:37:y:2003:i:1:p:107-130
    DOI: 10.1007/s001680200114

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    Cited by:

    1. Yicheol Han & Stephan J. Goetz & Taegon Kim & JeongJae Lee, 2013. "Estimating Employment-Related Migration from Overlapping Migration and Commuting Networks," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 474-493, September.
    2. Andrés Rodríguez-Pose & Tobias D. Ketterer, 2012. "Do Local Amenities Affect The Appeal Of Regions In Europe For Migrants?," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 52(4), pages 535-561, October.
    3. Brian Cushing & Jacques Poot, 2003. "Crossing boundaries and borders: Regional science advances in migration modelling," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 83(1), pages 317-338, October.
    4. Winters, John V., 2011. "Human capital, higher education institutions, and quality of life," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 41(5), pages 446-454, September.
    5. Kenneth M. Johnson & Richelle L. Winkler, 2015. "Migration signatures across the decades," Demographic Research, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany, vol. 32(38), pages 1065-1080, May.
    6. David Plane, 2012. "What about aging in regional science?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 48(2), pages 469-483, April.
    7. Ilya Kashnitsky & Nikita Mkrtchyan & Oleg Leshukov, 2016. "Interregional Migration of Youths in Russia: A Comprehensive Analysis of Demographic Statistics," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 169-203.
    8. Ronald L. Whisler & Brigitte S. Waldorf & Gordon F. Mulligan & David A. Plane, 2008. "Quality of Life and the Migration of the College-Educated: A Life-Course Approach," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 58-94.
    9. John V. Winters, 2011. "Human Capital and Population Growth in Nonmetropolitan U.S. Counties," Economic Development Quarterly, , vol. 25(4), pages 353-365, November.

    More about this item


    JEL classification: J61; O15; R23;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population


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