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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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Suggested Citation

  • 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:demogr:v:49:y:2012:i:3:p:1061-1074
    DOI: 10.1007/s13524-012-0110-3
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s13524-012-0110-3
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. 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;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(3), pages 1061-1074, August.
    2. Charles Brown, 1984. "Black-White Earnings Ratios Since the Civil Rights Act of 1964: The Importance of Labor Market Dropouts," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 99(1), pages 31-44.
    3. C. Hamilton, 1964. "The negro leaves the south," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 1(1), pages 273-295, March.
    4. Katherine Curtis White & Kyle Crowder & Stewart Tolnay & Robert Adelman, 2005. "Race, gender, and marriage: destination selection during the great migration," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 42(2), pages 215-241, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Interstate migration; Mobility; Current population survey; Hot deck imputation; Missing data;

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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