Short-term dynamics of the US interstate migration system, 1980-1988

Kevin McHugh, Patricia Gober

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

30 Scopus citations


This paper identifies short-term fluctuations in the interstate migration system using annual state-to-state migration flow data from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) records for the period, 1980 to 1988. Measures of migration efficiency are employed to indicate the net redistribution of population between states relative to the size of underlying gross interstate flows. Three findings stand out: migration was more effective in redistributing the population in years of economic retrenchment than during periods of growth and expansion, the dominant pattern of population redistribution shifted from a core-periphery configuration evident in the 1970s and early 1980s to a bi-coastal distribution by the mid-1980s, and the most dramatic event of the 1980s was the oil glut and decline in oil prices and profits which ravaged the economies of energy states in the west South Central and Mountain regions. Rapid reversal from net in- to net out-migration among energy states sent ripples and shock waves through the system of interstate migration flows. Overall, results demonstrate the high degree of temporal and spatial volatility in the US interstate migration system. -Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGrowth & Change
Number of pages18
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • General Environmental Science
  • Development


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