In this brief, authors Richelle Winkler and Kenneth Johnson, using new data and techniques, find that net migration between U.S. counties increased racial diversity in each of the last two decades. However, migration’s influence on diversity was far from uniform: it varied by race, age group, and location, sometimes starkly. Overall, net migration of the population under age 40 increased diversity, while net migration of people over age 60 diminished diversity. Blacks and Hispanics are migrating to predominantly white counties, while white young adults are moving to urban core counties with relatively high proportions of blacks and Hispanics. The movement of older whites is not contributing to the growing diversity, because older whites tend to move to predominantly white counties. Winkler and Johnson conclude that, while migration contributed to the growing diversity of the nation, the process was complex and varied from place to place with significant social, economic, and political implications for both the more diverse and less diverse places.

Publication Date

Spring 4-4-2017


National Issue Brief No. 117


Durham, N.H. : Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

Document Type



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