If Declining Towns ‘Deserve to Die,’ Where Should Their Residents Go?I did a text search but didn’t see the words “immigration” or “immigrant” in this Atlantic article, even though the huge rise in immigration obviously plays a role in the decline in internal migration by American citizens. If somebody is coming from abroad to make use of America, they are likely to move to a location in America with a booming economy. Thus, the flow of immigrants to American boomtowns drive down wages and drive up rents, making moving to boomtowns less economically rewarding for Americans.
Some economists and pundits claim Americans aren’t moving enough, but how people should respond to that is unclear.
BRIAN ALEXANDER 10:32 AM ET BUSINESS
In 2011, economists from the Federal Reserve and the University of Notre Dame issued a working paper called “Internal Migration in the United States.” In it, they concluded that “internal migration has fallen noticeably since the 1980s, reversing increases from earlier in the century.” In other words, Americans are moving less than they used to.
In that paper, and in research since, it’s been shown that the decline in migration holds up across the board, from high-school and college graduates to dropouts. Wealthier people are moving less than they used to, and so are poorer people. Migration from both distressed areas and prosperous areas has declined.
Something like an exception that proves the rule was the boom a half decade ago in working outdoors in the new energy fields of North Dakota. They were so far from the Mexican border, so few immigrants had any connections in North Dakota, and working outdoors in winter is so uncomfortable for immigrants from the tropical world that internal migration by Americans supplied most of the labor. And, thus, these American workers therefore had to be paid quite well due to lack of immigrant competition.