Coming and Going: Spatial Heterogeneity in Gross Population Flows

40 Pages Posted: 22 Jan 2016

See all articles by Kyle Mangum

Kyle Mangum

Georgia State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: January 2016


Studies of regional labor dynamics typically focus on net migration, but metropolitan areas in the U.S. are highly heterogenous in terms of gross migration. This paper documents the marked spatial heterogeneity in gross inflows and out flows of population and its persistence over time. I find that repeat migration - one-time migrants moving again - is important but insufficient to explain the large spatial differences in mobility. I then describe the characteristics of mobile versus immobile markets. Demographic differences are present, but small. Instead, locational differences in mobility are strongly associated with differences in their local labor markets, especially growth rates, income premia, and income dispersion. I argue that the observed income premia are consistent with superior human capital accumulation and that human capital accumulation and income dispersion are plausibly linked to higher rates of both in inflows and out flows.

Keywords: Migration, regional labor markets, local labor markets

JEL Classification: R23, J61

Suggested Citation

Mangum, Kyle, Coming and Going: Spatial Heterogeneity in Gross Population Flows (January 2016). Andrew Young School of Policy Studies Research Paper Series No. 16-03. Available at SSRN: or

Kyle Mangum (Contact Author)

Georgia State University - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 3992
Atlanta, GA 30302-3992
United States

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