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Economics Research Institute Study Paper




Utah State University Department of Economics

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Studies of migration typically examine migration between countries, or, in the United States, migration between states. Recently, there have been several studies done on the determinants of migration at the county level. The current study introduces a new concept into the migration literature: the migration turnover rate (MTR). The migration turnover rate is similar to an employee turnover rate in that it measures the turnover through in-migration and out-migration of the population of an area during a given period of time. The MTR is measured as the minimum of gross in-migration and gross out-migration over the period, as a percentage of the population of the area. Just as employee turnover creates costs for the employer, population turnover creates costs for society. Hence, understanding the determinants of MTR will be useful in predicting and preparing for the associated costs. The study identifies migration turnover rates by county for the Mountain States for the period 1985-1990, and uses an econometric model to identify the importance of a variety of factors associated with counties in influencing the size of MTR. It is found that a number of economic, demographic, social, environmental, geographic, and political variables are significant determinants of county MTR.