Geographic Dimensions of Relocation Activity: A Comparative Analysis of Intrametropolitan and Out-of-State Relocation Activity

Elizabeth A. Mack, Ran Wei

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Over the years, research on relocation activity has provided insights about the characteristics of firms and regions that drive relocation. The spatial dimensions of these relocation decisions, however, particularly within states or metropolitan areas, remain an understudied aspect of the relocation literature. There is also little work comparing the destinations of relocations originating from within metropolitan areas compared to relocation activity from other states. Given the theoretical and practical importance of higher resolution, comparative research on relocation activity within metropolitan areas, this article uses both areal and point-based spatial statistics to test hypotheses about similarities and differences in the relocation behavior of locally oriented and out-of-state businesses within the Phoenix, Arizona, metropolitan area. Analytical results highlight distinct differences in the destinations of relocation activity originating from within the metropolitan area compared to out-of-state relocation activity. Intrametropolitan relocations tend to locate in less expensive and racially and ethnically diverse neighborhoods, whereas out-of-state relocations locate in wealthier, well-known locations of the metropolitan area. Out-of-state relocations are also less likely to locate in the downtown core. This suggests that expensive smokestack-chasing efforts directed at attracting businesses from out of state are unlikely to help revitalize the downtown core.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-113
Number of pages11
JournalProfessional Geographer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2018


  • business location
  • colocation
  • intrametropolitan
  • relocation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth-Surface Processes


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