Migration Is Many Different Things: Using Network Analysis to Distinguish Different Interpretations of U.S. Interstate Migration Patterns

Brandon Ferrell, University of Oklahoma
Joseph L. Rodgers, University of Oklahoma

The concept of "migration" can appear straightforward, unidimensional, and easy to interpret. But the movement of people across political boundaries (e.g., between states or countries), is anything but straightforward, and is certainly not unidimensional. We apply a migration measurement perspective, and a set of network analytic procedures, to study interstate migration patterns from the past several decades. Using network analyses, including seriation and nearest neighbor analysis, we develop tables and maps showing U.S. state migration patterns in relation to in-migration, out-migration, and net-migration, and using three different methods to standardize/norm the migration data. Results are contained in both tables and also graphical maps of the U.S., which provide visual comparisons across three different decades and across different geographic regions of the U.S., for the various ways that migration can be conceptualized.

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Presented in Session 211: New Methodological Approaches for Examining Internal Migration