The Great Migration in Black and White: New Evidence on the Selection and Sorting of Southern Migrants
We construct datasets of linked census records to study internal migrants’ selection and destination choices during the first decades of the “Great Migration” (1910-1930). We study both whites and blacks and intra- and inter-regional migration. While there is some evidence of positive selection, the degree of selection was small and participation in migration was widespread. Differences in background, including initial location, cannot account for racial differences in destination choices. Blacks and whites were similarly responsive to pre-existing migrant stocks from their home state, but black men were more deterred by distance, attracted to manufacturing, and responsive to labor demand.
The authors are grateful for suggestions from Jeremy Atack, Richard Baker, Hoyt Bleakley, John Brown, Brant Callaway, Kitt Carpenter, Andrew Dustan, Taylor Jaworksi, Tong Li, Robert Margo, Peter McHenry, Alejandro Molnar, Suresh Naidu, Abigail Wozniak, two anonymous referees, and seminar participants at the University of Georgia, University of California at Davis, Stanford University, Vanderbilt University, the ASSA Meetings (2013), the World Congress of Cliometrics (2013), and the Economic History Association (2013). Ye Gu, Justin Roush, and Shea Sabin provided excellent research assistance. The authors thank Richard Hornbeck and Dave Donaldson for sharing transport cost data. The Grey and Dornbush gifts at Vanderbilt University and Office of Research at the University of Tennessee have provided research support. NSF support (SES 1156085 and 1156057) is gratefully acknowledged. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Collins, William J. & Wanamaker, Marianne H., 2015. "The Great Migration in Black and White: New Evidence on the Selection and Sorting of Southern Migrants," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 75(04), pages 947-992, December. citation courtesy of