Migration distances were determined for contemporary United States society based on individuals chosen from high school reunion booklets. Parent-offspring distances averaged 771.3 km ( root-mean-square distance = 989.2 km) and matrimonial distances averaged 866.5 km (root-mean-square distance = 1,021.8 km), values far higher than those measured for any other human population to date, historic or modern. Migration was divided into 4 stages: (1) birth to graduation from high school, (2) high school graduation to marriage, (3) marriage to birth of first child, and (4) birth of first child to current residence. Relative to the birthsite, migration is farthest during stage 1. However, dispersal during all stages except stage 2 is considerable, and absolute distances, measured by the mean log-transformed distances, are similar for stages 1 ,3, and 4. Dispersal following birth of the first child is most likely to be directed closer to place of birth, while dispersal following marriage is most likely to be away from the birthsite and is particularly great relative to its short average duration. Geographic and temporal factors accounted for a significant proportion of variance in migration distance. Controlling for these variables, individuals that moved away to college tended to disperse farther during stages 1 and 3. Although females were more likely to be married close to home than males, females dispersed farther between high school and their current residence, using the complete sample of high school reunion booklets.
Koenig, Walter D.
"Internal Migration in the Contemporary United States: Comparison of Measures and Partitioning of Stages,"
6, Article 10.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/humbiol/vol60/iss6/10