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Immigration and Internal Migration "Flight": A California Case Study

Publication Abstract

Frey, William H. 1995. "Immigration and Internal Migration "Flight": A California Case Study." Population and Environment, 16(4): 353-75.

Recent analyses of 1990 census migration data have pointed up disparities in the way immigration and internal migration contributions affect an area's demographic profile. The authors show that there is title overlap between states with large population gains from immigration from abroad. This emerging pattern, along with the fact that immigration and internal migration select on very different demographic characteristics, could lead toward a "demographic balkanization" of the nation's population. This paper evaluates immigration-induced out-movement from California, based on an analysis of recently released migration data from the 1990 U.S. census. The results presented here suggest that California's out-migration consists of two different migration systems: first, an immigration-induced "flight" that exports lower income and less-educated Californians, primarily, to the nearby states of Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona. And second, a more conventional migration exchange with the rest of the United States that involves the redistribution of better educated, higher income migrants. It is the former migration system which appears to be most responsive to more conventional labor market employment characteristics. This implies that, irrespective of changing economic conditions in the state, the continued immigration of low-skilled migrants will lead to more losses of native-born internal migrants to neighboring states and metropolitan areas. However, the migrant streams will not be made up of the "best and brightest" residents that characterize most conventional migration streams.

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