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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.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmwp:681
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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.
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    More about this item

    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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