Interstate Migration Has Fallen Less Than You Think: Consequences of Hot Deck Imputation in the Current Population Survey
- 674 Downloads
We show that much of the recent reported decrease in interstate migration is a statistical artifact. Before 2006, the Census Bureau’s imputation procedure for dealing with missing data in the Current Population Survey inflated the estimated interstate migration rate. An undocumented change in the procedure corrected the problem starting in 2006, thus reducing the estimated migration rate. The change in imputation procedures explains 90% of the reported decrease in interstate migration between 2005 and 2006, and 42% of the decrease between 2000 (the recent high-water mark) and 2010. After we remove the effect of the change in procedures, we find that the annual interstate migration rate follows a smooth downward trend from 1996 to 2010. Contrary to popular belief, the 2007–2009 recession is not associated with any additional decrease in interstate migration relative to trend.
KeywordsInterstate migration Mobility Current population survey Hot deck imputation Missing data
We thank Andrew Gelman, Ellen McGrattan, Robert Moffitt, an anonymous commenter, and the Editor and referees of this journal for helpful suggestions; Joan Gieseke for editorial assistance; and Xun Liu for excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis or the Federal Reserve System.
- Batini, N., Celasun, O., Dowling, T., Estevão, M., Keim, G., Sommer, M., Tsounta, E. (2010). United States: Selected issues paper (IMF Country Report No. 10/248). Washington, DC: International Monetary Fund. Retrieved from http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2010/cr10248.pdf
- Fletcher, M. A. (2010, July 30). Few in U.S. move for new jobs, fueling fear the economy might get stuck, too. Washington Post, p. A1.Google Scholar
- Frey, W. H. (2009). The Great American Migration slowdown: Regional and metropolitan dimensions (Report). Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.Google Scholar
- Hamilton, C. H. (1964). The Negro Leaves the South. Demography, 1, 273–295.Google Scholar
- Internal Revenue Service. (2008). Supplemental documentation for migration data products. Retrieved from http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/countmiguser0708.doc
- Kaplan, G., & Schulhofer-Wohl, S. (2011). Interstate migration has fallen less than you think: Consequences of hot deck imputation in the Current Population Survey (Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Working Paper 681).Google Scholar
- Koerber, K. (2007). Comparison of ACS and ASEC Data on Geographic Mobility: 2004 (Report). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/acs/www/library/by_year/2007/
- Ruggles, S., Alexander, J. T., Genadek, K., Goeken, R., Schroeder, M. B., & Sobek, S. (2010). Integrated Public Use Microdata Series: Version 5.0 [Machine-readable database]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2000). Current Population Survey: Design and methodology (Technical Paper 63). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2000pubs/tp63.pdf
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2002). Current Population Survey: Design and methodology (Technical Paper 63RV). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2002pubs/tp63rv.pdf
- U.S. Census Bureau. (2006).Current Population Survey: Design and methodology (Technical Paper 66). Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved from http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/tp-66.pdf