Population and Environment

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 259–276

Internal Migration of the Foreign-Born: Population Concentration or Dispersion?

  • K. Bruce Newbold


Recent analyses of the 1990 census migration data have pointed to the different demographic effects of internal migration and immigration. States and metropolitan areas either have large population gains through immigration or internal migration, but rarely both, leading to what has been labeled as an increasing demographic ‘balkanization’ of the U.S. population. This paper explores the proposition that the internal migration of the foreign-born (pre-1985 arrivals) is likely to reinforce the demographic effects of immigration. Analysis is based on the five-percent Public Use Microdata file of the U.S. Census, with the demographic effects evaluated at both the state and metropolitan area levels. Distinctions were also made between nineteen separate national origin groups, increasing the detail of the analysis. Despite high internal migration rates and large net migration, there was little change in the overall distribution and concentration of the foreign-born population between 1985 and 1990. More important, however, distinctions were found across the national origin groups. While secondary migration leads to dispersion among some groups, other groups were becoming increasingly concentrated, suggesting that demographic balkanization of the American population is more variable than the literature would suggest.


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Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Bruce Newbold
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyUniversity of IllinoisUrbana

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