Demonstrating Their Freedom: The Post-Emancipation Migration of Black Americans
Research in Economic History, Vol. 10, pp. 213-239, 1986
14 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2011
Date Written: 1986
Why did newly freed slaves and their descendants wait a half century before migrating in large numbers to the superior economic opportunities in the North? Census lifetime migration data on both movers and stayers are examined intertemporally for both whites and blacks. Regression analysis reveals that before 1920 Southern blacks has a very strong affinity for the "Southern way of life." We hypothesize that changes in the relationship between actual and expected economic welfare over time lead to a decline in that affinity. Aside from regional affinity, black migrants responded strongly to economic stimuli, including wages, job opportunities, and information costs.
Keywords: migration, black migration, mobility, economic incentives to move, regional affinity
JEL Classification: J01, J11, J15, J61, J62, R11, R23
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