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Stability and Change in Individual Determinants of Migration: Evidence from 1985-1990 and 1995 to 2000

Listed author(s):
  • Charles Tolbert
  • Troy Blanchard
  • Michael Irwin
Registered author(s):

    In this paper, we compare the reliability of migration estimates from two rather different macroeconomic periods in recent U.S. history. One of these periods, 1985-1990 coincides with the culmination of a vast industrial restructuring which saw a significant decline in manufacturing employment. The other period, 1995-2000, encompasses a time of robust economic growth and tight labor markets driven by productivity gains associated with new technologies. Our interest here is in the stability of common individual-level predictors of migration in these rather disparate macroeconomic contexts. Using confidential internal versions of the 1990 and 2000 Census long-form data, we estimate logistic models of the likelihood that individuals will migrate. The geographic detail in the internal Census data permits us to measure migration in ways that are not possible with public-domain Census data on persons. We develop migration definitions that distinguish between local residential mobility likely associated with life course transitions from migration out of the labor market area that may be driven more by employment and other socioeconomic considerations. Using logistic modeling, we find that the same individual attributes predict migration reasonably well during both periods. We also compute some illustrative probabilities of migration that show temporal stability in migration predictors could be lessened by certain changes in population composition.

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    File Function: First version, 2006
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    Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 06-27.

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    Length: 31 pages
    Date of creation: Nov 2006
    Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:06-27
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    1. William Clark, 1992. "Residential preferences and residential choices in a multiethnic context," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 29(3), pages 451-466, August.
    2. repec:cai:poeine:pope_405_0567 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Michael White & Peter Mueser, 1988. "Implications of boundary choice for the measurement of residential mobility," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 25(3), pages 443-459, August.
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