William H. Frey photo

Interstate Migration and Immigration for Whites and Minorities, 1985-90: The Emergence of Multi-ethnic States

Publication Abstract

Frey, William H. "Interstate Migration and Immigration for Whites and Minorities, 1985-90: The Emergence of Multi-ethnic States." PSC Research Report No. 93-297. 10 1993.

Recent large waves of predominantly minority immigrants have exerted strong impacts upon the handful of states which represent the dominant destinations for these immigrants. At the same time, different internal migration streams appear to be redistributing large numbers of whites to other states -- away from immigrant impacted areas. The continuation of these processes -- a minority-dominated immigration coupled with an internal migration "white flight" -- could lead to sharply divergent racial and socio-demographic structures across broad regions and states. This paper examines 1990 U.S. census migration data to evaluate these patterns and their implications for specific states.

On the premise that immigration-driven population change exerts far different consequences on a state's race and class composition than internal migration-driven change, the paper introduces a classification of states based on their dominant migration patterns. It distinguishes states growing primarily from immigration (e.g. California, Texas) from those whose growth accrues primarily from internal migration (e.g., Florida, Georgia, Washington). A final category of states that sustained heavy out-migration (e.g., Louisana, Michigan, Iowa), is also identified.

The first part of the paper points up the disparity in race compositions between migration from abroad, and migration with other states. The second part of the paper looks at the selective nature of white internal migration for each of these three classes of states. These selectivity dynamics are evaluated on measures of poverty status, education attainment, and for the elderly population. The concluding section of the paper focuses on the impact of these evolving migration patterns for the demographic structure of California. The race and status dynamics of recent immigration and internal migration flows are evaluated for a variety of social, economic and demographic measures. These findings, in the context of those shown for other states, suggest a continued polarization across state populations by race and class.

The data for this study draw from tabulations of the 1990 Census 5% Public Use Microsample (PUMS) files based on the "residence 5-years ago" question which was used to identify migrants from abroad and net interstate migration (in-migration from other states minus out-migration to other states) over the 1985-90 period. A variety of maps, tables and figures in the text and Appendix detail the interstate migration patterns for this period.

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