Return migration: socioeconomic determinants for state in- migration

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

The central concern of this study is to determine the role of return migration in the changing economic and noneconomic determinants of state in-migration. It was hypothesized that the transition from primarily economic to noneconomic determinants of in-migration in the United States in the last decade was directly related to changes in the components of the migration stream itself; that is, that an increasing proportion of return migrants in the in-migration stream contributes to the movement toward noneconomic reasons for migrating.

This study compares the selective characteristics of lifetime and five-year non migrants, and primary, secondary and return migrants using Public Use Sample data for 1960, 1970, and 1980. In addition, it analyzes four economic and six noneconomic determinants of migration for 1970 and 1980 usinq a data set that includes published data on state migration and socioeconomic characteristics.

An analysis of the selectivities of migration has both supported and rejected existing literature. In a comparison of migrants and non migrants, migrants tend to be younger, better educated persons from white collar occupations with higher incomes and smaller households than non migrants. When migrant types are compared, return migrants tend not to be as well off as other migrants socioeconomically. They tend to have lower education, come from blue collar occupations, have larger households, be a little older and have less income than other migrants. The most significant finding is the distinction of five-year from lifetime nonmigrants.

The regression analysis on the determinants of state in-migration reveals that there has been a shift from economic to noneconomic reasons for migrating from 1970 to 1980. In addition, the relative proportion of primary, secondary and return migration has changed over time. Contrary to the hypothesis, however, the trend from economic to noneconomic determinants of migration has not been related to changes in the proportion of return this study points to the relationship migration in the stream. Rather, further research that investigates between secondary migration and the changing determinants of state in-migration.