Social Status Inconsistency and Migration
Research in Social Stratification and Mobility
We use NLSY79 panel data to extend the line of sociological research encouraged in the early work of Lenski by analyzing the effects of social status inconsistencies on the likelihood and direction of migration. Given that migration is often viewed as a way for individuals to locate prospective returns fitting for their qualifications, analysis of migration behavior offers an opportunity to examine the impact of status inconsistency. Key findings indicate that under-rewarded individuals, specifically relatively highly educated individuals in low status and low paying occupations, are more likely to migrate than are status consistent individuals. Over-rewarded individuals are less likely to migrate. These findings vary across metropolitan and nonmetropolitan places: individuals in nonmetropolitan areas who are under-rewarded or have mixed statuses have higher odds of migration than status consistent respondents. Individuals in metropolitan areas with inconsistent statuses are not more likely to migrate than status consistent respondents once other determinants of migration are entered in the analysis. Exploratory analysis shows migration increases the likelihood of achieving status consistency. Further examination of the interrelationship between migration and status inconsistency is recommended.
Lee, J.-youn, Toney, M. B., & Berry, E. H. (2009). Social status inconsistency and migration. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility, 27(1), 35-49. doi:10.1016/j.rssm.2008.10.001