, Volume 18, Issue 1, pp 85-101

Return and other sequences of migration in the United States

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We examine repeat migration sequences in the United States especially those that entail a return, using data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics. Our guiding hypotheses derive from the concepts of location-specific capital and imperfect information. Descriptive analysis elucidates the dynamics, tempo, and differential frequency of repeat migration among various socioeconomic groups. Results disclose differences among migrants who choose to return or move onward to a new location, or do not move again, and lend support to our analytical framework. Major findings are: (1) the propensity to return to an area varies directly with the amount of locationspecific capital that is left behind and inversely with the ex-resident’s length of absence, (2) which repeat migration sequence unfolds—return or onward—depends on the ex-resident’s educational level and experience of unemployment.