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Schooling and the Great Migration

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  • Robert A. Margo

Abstract

In 1900, 90 percent of America?s black population lived in the South and only 4.3 percent of those born in the region era living elsewhere. By 1950 the proportion of blacks living in the South had declined to 68 percent and 19.6 percent of those born in the region had left it. Using samples drawn from the public use tapes of the 1900, 1940, and 1950 censuses I show that better-educated blacks were far more likely to leave the South than less-educated ones. There was, as well, a feedback effect black school enrollment increased in states that had previously experienced high rates of black out-migration. Econometric analysis of the determinants of black out-migration suggests that the better-educated were more likely to migrate because schooling lowered the costs of migrating, possibly by increasing awareness of distant labor market opportunities and the ability to assimilate into a different social and economic environment.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert A. Margo, 1988. "Schooling and the Great Migration," NBER Working Papers 2697, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:2697
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    1. Margo, Robert A, 1984. "Accumulation of Property by Southern Blacks before World War I: Comment and Further Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(4), pages 768-776, September.
    2. Greenwood, Michael J, 1975. "Research on Internal Migration in the United States: A Survey," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 13(2), pages 397-433, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. La Ferrara, Eliana & Mele, Angelo, 2006. "Racial Segregation and Public School Expenditure," CEPR Discussion Papers 5750, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    2. William J. Collins & Marianne H. Wanamaker, 2014. "Selection and Economic Gains in the Great Migration of African Americans: New Evidence from Linked Census Data," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 220-252, January.
    3. Logan, Trevon D., 2009. "Health, human capital, and African-American migration before 1910," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(2), pages 169-185, April.
    4. Kevin Thomas, 2012. "Migration Processes, Familial Characteristics, and Schooling Dropout Among Black Youths," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 49(2), pages 477-498, May.
    5. repec:spr:demogr:v:54:y:2017:i:6:d:10.1007_s13524-017-0625-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Lall, Somik V. & Timmins, Christopher & Yu, Shouyue, 2009. "Connecting lagging and leading regions : the role of labor mobility," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4843, The World Bank.

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