Standard Article

United States: internal migration, immigrants and new destinations

Migration A–Z


  1. Mary M. Kritz and Douglas T. Gurak

Published Online: 4 FEB 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781444351071.wbeghm562

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration

How to Cite

Gurak, M. M. K. a. D. T. 2013. United States: internal migration, immigrants and new destinations. The Encyclopedia of Global Human Migration. .

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 4 FEB 2013


The study of who migrates and why, and where migrants settle has long been of interest to natural and social scientists, given that migrants have been ubiquitous throughout human history, leaving behind genetic as well as sociocultural markers as they populated the world (National Geographic/IBM 2011). In previous centuries, most human migrations were forced by natural catastrophes, wars, climate and ecological change, or political and ethnic conflict whereas today, particularly in advanced economies, they are voluntary and involve conscious choices regarding the costs and benefits of moving from one place to another. People make that calculation differently, however, depending on their demographic and socioeconomic characteristics, national origins, and places of residence. While some people migrate multiple times in their lifetimes, others never or seldom do so. Thus in order to assess migration causes and effects, it is instructive to look at individual and group differences in migration processes. US immigrants are a particularly interesting population in which to study migration differentials, given their diverse national, cultural, and socioeconomic origins, as well as their differing reasons for migrating to the United States and legal statuses. Other essays in this encyclopedia examine the extent and importance of heterogeneity in shaping who migrates to the United States and immigrants’ initial settlement patterns. This essay looks at how immigrants’ individual characteristics and national origins are shaping a relatively recent migration flow within the United States, namely the internal migration of immigrants to new destinations.


  • immigration;
  • labor;
  • labor supply;
  • capitalism;
  • poverty;
  • political economy