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The Decline and Rise of Interstate Migration in the United States: Evidence from the IPUMS, 1850-1990

  • Joshua L. Rosenbloom
  • William A. Sundstrom

We examine evidence on trends in interstate migration over the past 150 years, using data from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series of the U.S. Census (IPUMS). Two measures of migration are calculated. The first considers an individual to have moved if she is residing in a state different from her state of birth. The second considers a family to have moved if it is residing in a state different from the state of birth of one of its young children. The latter measure allows us estimate the timing of moves more accurately. Our results suggest that overall migration propensities have followed a U-shaped trend since 1850, falling until around 1900 and then rising until around 1970. We examine variation in the propensity to make an interstate move by age, sex, race, nativity, region of origin, family structure, and education. Counterfactuals based on probit estimates of the propensity to migrate suggest that the rise in migration of families since 1900 is largely attributable to increased educational attainment. The decline of interstate migration in the late nineteenth century remains to be explained.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 9857.

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Date of creation: Jul 2003
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Publication status: published as Field, Alexander J. (ed.) Research in economic history. Volume 22. Amsterdam and San Diego: Elsevier, JAI, 2004.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:9857
Note: LS
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  1. Barro, Robert J & Sala-i-Martin, Xavier, 1992. "Convergence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(2), pages 223-51, April.
  2. Claudia Goldin, 1999. "A Brief History of Education in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Olivier Jean Blanchard & Lawrence F. Katz, 1992. "Regional Evolutions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 23(1), pages 1-76.
  4. Richard H. Steckel, 1982. "The Economic Foundations of East-West Migration During the Nineteenth Century," NBER Working Papers 0881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1990. "One Market or Many? Labor Market Integration in the Late Nineteenth-Century United States," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 50(01), pages 85-107, March.
  6. Price V. Fishback & William C. Horrace & Shawn Kantor, 2001. "Do Federal Programs Affect Internal Migration? The Impact of New Deal Expenditures on Mobility During the Great Depression," NBER Working Papers 8283, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Gary Sandefur & Wilbur Scott, 1981. "A dynamic analysis of migration: an assessment of the effects of age, family and career variables," Demography, Springer, vol. 18(3), pages 355-368, August.
  8. Goldin, Claudia, 1998. "America's Graduation from High School: The Evolution and Spread of Secondary Schooling in the Twentieth Century," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(02), pages 345-374, June.
  9. Robert J. Barro & Xavier Sala-i-Martin, 1991. "Convergence across States and Regions," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 22(1), pages 107-182.
  10. repec:cup:jechis:v:57:y:1997:i:03:p:607-632_01 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Carrington, William J & Detragiache, Enrica & Vishwanath, Tara, 1996. "Migration with Endogenous Moving Costs," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 909-30, September.
  12. 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.
  13. Gallaway, Lowell E. & Vedder, Richard K., 1971. "Mobility of Native Americans," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 31(03), pages 613-649, September.
  14. Chiswick, Barry R., 2000. "Are Immigrants Favorably Self-Selected? An Economic Analysis," IZA Discussion Papers 131, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  15. Schaefer, Donald F., 1989. "Locational Choice in the Antebellum South," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 49(01), pages 145-165, March.
  16. Rosenbloom, Joshua L., 1996. "Was There a National Labor Market at the End of the Nineteenth Century? New Evidence on Earnings in Manufacturing," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 56(03), pages 626-656, September.
  17. Larry Long, 1973. "Migration differentials by education and occupation: Trends and variations," Demography, Springer, vol. 10(2), pages 243-258, May.
  18. Treyz, George I, et al, 1993. "The Dynamics of U.S. Internal Migration," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 75(2), pages 209-14, May.
  19. Borjas, George J. & Bronars, Stephen G. & Trejo, Stephen J., 1992. "Self-selection and internal migration in the United States," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 159-185, September.
  20. Schwartz, Aba, 1976. "Migration, Age, and Education," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(4), pages 701-19, August.
  21. Collins, Wiiliam J., 1997. "When the Tide Turned: Immigration and the Delay of the Great Black Migration," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 57(03), pages 607-632, September.
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