This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Where Do Y'all Come From? Americans on the Move

Americans have been on the move forever, and Gregor Aisch, Robert Gebeloff, and Kevin Quealy have put together a nice set of data on migration between states over time, and these data have then been analyzed today in a series of articles by Nate Cohen in the NY Times. The data themselves are census data from 1900 to 2010 put together by the IPUMS project at the University of Minnesota Population Center. The first analysis to catch my eye is the one involving the changing demographics of the southern states in the US. My son, Greg Weeks, and I have been watching this for some time and have written especially about Latin American immigration to the south. But, of course, that is only part of the story, as the graph below illustrates.

Democrats were able to become competitive so quickly in states like Virginia and North Carolina because they combined a growing nonwhite share of the electorate with gains among white voters, particularly in postindustrial metropolitan areas full of Northern expats. Without additional gains among white voters, Democrats will be forced to wait a long time for the children of foreign-born residents to carry them to competitiveness in Texas, a state that Mr. Obama lost by 17 points in 2012, and where there isn’t a flood of Democratic-leaning voters from New York to bail them out.
The political dimension of this is clearly on everyone's mind. It varies from state to state depending upon the number of northerners (who tend to be Democrats) moving into the southern state, and on the pace of immigration, since the children of immigrants are US citizens who are more likely to become Democrats than Republicans, but they have to reach voting age for that to make a difference. This is happening sooner in states like Georgia and North Carolina than in some of the other southern states.

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