1982 volume 14(2) pages 145 – 167
doi:10.1068/a140145

Cite as:
Clark G L, 1982, "Volatility in the geographical structure of short-run US interstate migration" Environment and Planning A 14(2) 145 – 167

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Volatility in the geographical structure of short-run US interstate migration

G L Clark

Received 30 December 1980, in revised form 5 May 1981

Abstract. Migration is often thought to be a long-run phenomenon. However, it is shown here by means of labor-force migration estimates derived from the Continuous Work History Sample over the period 1958 - 1975, that US interstate migration is quite volatile over the short run with respect both to its adjustment to macroeconomic fluctuations and to its geographical structure. A hierarchical clustering routine is utilized to analyse yearly estimates of interstate gross in-migration and out-migration so as to identify the temporal stability and characteristics of the geographical patterns of migration. States enter the national migration linkage tree at different levels for different years, depending upon the level of short-run economic activity. It is also shown that when national economic conditions worsen, labor-supply adjustments are more localized and the degree of interstate interdependence is less than in times of economic boom. An Almon distributed-lags time series regression model is used to formally test the relationship between spatial interconnectivity (as represented by interstate migration flows) and national fluctuations.

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