Movement in America: A Spatial Analysis of County-to-County Migration
Christopher S. Inkpen, Pennsylvania State University
Internal migration is a dynamic socio-geographic process that impacts individuals, families, and communities. Given the lower inertia and uncertainty involved in moving, internal migration in the United States can be seen as a measure of how actors in fluid labor markets respond to economic shocks. Yet social ties and demographics may also influence migration. This study uses county-level data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey 5-year estimates from 2008 to 2012 to answer two interrelated questions; (1) what are the constituent determinants of county-to-county migration in the contiguous United States and (2) what is the spatial structure of this county-to-county migration? Employing spatial regression methods, I examine the relationship of county-to-county migration and a number of demographic and economic indicators. I find that county-to-county internal migration is a highly spatially structured process, and that accounting for spatial structure reduces the impact of important migration predictors while increasing others.