The impact of migration on poverty concentrations in the United States, 1995-2000

Matt Foulkes, Kai A. Schafft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Poverty is frequently conceptualized as an attribute of either people or places. Yet residential movement of poor people can redistribute poverty across places, affecting and reshaping the spatial concentration of economic disadvantage. In this article, we utilize 1995 to 2000 county-to-county migration data from the 2000 United States decennial census to explore how differential migration rates of the poor and nonpoor affect local incidence of poverty, and how migration reconfigures poverty rates across metropolitan, micropolitan, and noncore counties. We further examine the impact of differential migration rates on African American and Latino poverty rates, two groups that have experienced higher than average poverty rates and have a sizable presence in rural areas. Our analysis indicates that during the 1990s the poor moved at rates equal to or greater than the nonpoor, and that, especially in micropolitan counties, this movement tended to deepen existing poverty concentrations. Both African American and Latino migration patterns tended to reinforce existing poverty concentrations, a result similar to that of the population as a whole, although the migration patterns of both groups more severely exacerbated poverty in high-poverty noncore counties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-110
Number of pages21
JournalRural Sociology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 23 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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