Twenty-First-Century Trends in Black Migration to the U.S. South: Demographic and Subjective Predictors


  • The data used in this article were obtained from the University of Minnesota Social History Research Laboratory's “Integrated Public Use Microdata Series.” The authors will share all data and coding for purposes of replication.



We examine (1) whether black migration trends from the final few decades of the 20th century continued during the first decade of the 21st century, (2) whether the black southern migration stream continues to be demographically distinctive, and (3) whether incorporating subjective/motivational factors into our models advances our understanding of race and interregional migration.


Using data from the 2000 to 2010 Current Population Surveys, we employ descriptive and inferential statistics to (1) map recent patterns of interregional migration in the United States by race and (2) estimate the effects of race, other sociodemographics, and subjective/motivational factors on people's propensity to migrate to the United States South.


We find that the rate of black migration to the South continues to exceed that of whites, and that black migrants differ from their white counterparts both demographically and motivationally. We also observe selected gender differences within the black southern migration stream.


Our results underscore the need for more research on race, gender, and interregional migration in the United States. We suggest directions for such work, with particular focus on possibilities for further inquiry when 2010 census materials become more widely available.