We Need a New Narrative of Minority Migration

Image via Shutterstock

Image via Shutterstock

When upscale whites move (e.g., to Portland), people celebrate it. But when poorer minorities move, people decry it as displacement.

While there is no doubt some displacement, focusing on this misses that the lower income often have fewer chances to make moves to pursue opportunity. This is a problem because longer distance migration is associated with higher incomes.

Fostering a narrative of inclusive opportunity of migration is the focus of my column in the current issue of Governing magazine. It draws on recent research from my Manhattan Institute colleague Scott Winship. Here’s an excerpt:

The good news is that the kinds of migration associated with economic improvement haven’t been in decline. Rather, much of the widely reported fall in migration rates comes from a decline in people moving within states, often within their same local community. These moves do not seem associated with economic status in the way that longer-distance ones are.

The bad news is that lower-income blacks and Hispanics have lower levels of the beneficial kind of migration than do lower-income whites. Winship stresses that his research doesn’t prove that migration causes upward mobility. It may be that those who move are people who would have succeeded regardless of where they lived. But the fact that fewer blacks and Hispanics than whites are moving suggests that some of them who could benefit from migration aren’t able to take advantage of it.

Click through to read the whole thing.


from Aaron M. Renn


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