An Analysis of U.S. Domestic Migration via Subset-stable Measures of Administrative Data
72 Pages Posted: 30 Jun 2020 Last revised: 30 Mar 2021
Date Written: June 3, 2020
How does the likelihood of moving across U.S. regions vary with changes in household characteristics, and how does the risk of a change in status vary given a move? Statistics aimed at these questions are calculated for households who earned formal market income in the U.S., 2001—2015, totaling about 1.7 billion observations with 82.7 million long-distance moves, and covering statuses such as income, school enrollment, age, number of children, local cost of living, retirement or marital status. The key theoretical result of this article shows that the Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel statistic is the unique aggregate risk ratio within a broad class that has the "subset stability" property: If a statistic has value s₁ for one subset and s₂ for another, then the statistic for the union of the two sets is between s₁ and s₂. A sequence of pseudo-experiments generate a wealth of tests regarding the relationship between moving and a broad range of household characteristics, for the full population and salient subsets, with some focus on the characteristics of the 44.2% of movers who see negative income returns relative to the counterfactual of staying.
Keywords: migration, administrative records, demographic analysis, relative risk, risk ratios, returns to education, retirement, tax policy
JEL Classification: J61, C14, H24, D19
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation