This paper investigates the occupational implications of contemporary migration flows by region and race. Even though the expectation of a positive link between geographic and social mobility is a central tenet in the stratification literature, empirical assessments are rare and have produced inconsistent results. Our analysis departs from traditional frameworks by integrating both absolute and relative notions of occupational standing for evaluating migration outcomes, comparing migrants against non-migrant peers both at origin and destination. Results document that for whites, migration is associated with higher occupational attainment both in absolute and relative terms, irrespective of the regional direction of the move. For blacks, on the other hand, absolute occupational gains are markedly absent for migration to the South, which is instead characterized by significant improvement in relative terms. The differences in absolute and relative gains by race and direction of the move helps contextualize the considerable black over representation in north–south migration and highlight the implications of current internal mobility for racial stratification.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Nov 22, 2013
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