Population Research and Policy Review

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 229–252

Geographic diversity of inter-county migration in the United States, 1980–1995

  • Stefan Rayer
  • David L. Brown

DOI: 10.1023/A:1010654618859

Cite this article as:
Rayer, S. & Brown, D.L. Population Research and Policy Review (2001) 20: 229. doi:10.1023/A:1010654618859


This study focuses on the dynamics of internal migration since the 1970s nonmetropolitan turnaround period. In the first part of the study we analyze nationwide and regional net migration dynamics within an urban hierarchyframework for the three five-year periods 1980–85, 1985–90, and 1990–95.The analysis reveals the great diversity in spatial situations across the UnitedStates and provides a basis for evaluating alternative frameworks of populationredistribution trends. We find that both the deconcentration and the restructuring perspective are helpful for understanding the situation in certain regions at particular points in time, but should not be applied to conceptualize metropolitan-nonmetropolitan population redistribution for the nation as a whole. The second part of the study identifies the factors associated with the dynamics of county level migration that are revealed in the descriptive analysis. Using both residual method and actual migration stream data in amultivariate regression framework, the study reveals that job-related and socioeconomic well being variables are the most important and most consistent determinants of inter-county migration differentials regardless of the direction of net migration exchanges among counties up and down the settlement structure. Finally, we find that factors associated with attracting migrants also frequently increase out-migration and thus the direction of net migration istypically a function of whether a particular variable is more strongly associated with in-or out-migration.

Internal migration Population redistribution Regional demography 

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Rayer
    • 1
  • David L. Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rural SociologyCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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