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Migration is Diversifying Most American Counties
Published Friday, April 7, 2017

Migration has increased the diversity of the population in two-thirds of U.S. counties, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at UNH in Durham. However, the influence influence was far from uniform, as migration rates varied by race, age group and region of the country.

Between 2000 and 2010, Blacks and Hispanics of all ages migrated to areas that are predominantly white, while movement of the white population varied considerably by age. White young adults (age 20-39) moved to counties in large urban centers with relatively high levels of blacks and Hispanics, but older whites tended to move to predominantly white counties. Diversity grew the most in the suburbs and fringes of several metropolitan areas, mostly in the Northeast and Midwest, and the least in parts of the South, Southwest and Appalachia.

The research was conducted by Richelle Winkler, associate professor of sociology and demography at Michigan Technological University, and Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer at the Carsey School and a professor of sociology.

“Migration can serve an integrating function when people from different races move into the same area, but it can also reinforce existing racial boundaries and diminish local diversity when people from different racial groups sort themselves into homogeneous communities,” the researchers said. “We found that net migration had the overall effect of increasing diversity among U.S. counties over the past 20 years but we also found evidence of older whites moving away from more diverse counties toward whiter ones, suggesting that factors continue to limit integration among some groups.

The full report can be found here.

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