“Call to Home?” Race, Region, and Migration to the U.S. South, 1970–20001

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Abstract

This research examines recent migration patterns of native-born blacks and whites to the U.S. South. Our primary research questions concern race and regional migration dynamics, and whether new insights into such can be gleaned by comparing migrants to the South with persons moving within the non-South. Using samples of 1970–2000 census data, we focus on race differences in the tendency to choose the South as a migration destination, and whether whites and blacks differ in key selection mechanisms shaping movement to different regional destinations. We observe increasing rates of black (compared to white) migration to the South. Additionally, patterns of selectivity within this growing African-American migration stream are especially dramatic when southern migrants are compared to persons moving within the non-South. Our analyses also show that black migrants are targeting particular parts of the South (e.g., states where blacks are a larger share of the population), suggesting that future research should disaggregate the “Census South” region to provide a more comprehensive picture of contemporary interregional migration in the United States.

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