Massey & Alexander: Did blacks in the Great Migration improve their children’s prospects?
Trent Alexander, Catherine Massey and colleagues look at whether the Great Migration’s geographic mobility translated into socioeconomic mobility for the children of those who migrated. Using census data from 1940 and 2000, they find that the children of migrants generally ended up better off in terms of income, education, and escaping poverty than did the children of blacks who remained in the South. Although much of this can be accounted for by the better education and jobs of the blacks who elected to migrate, Massey says: “even after we controlled for a parent’s education, occupation and income, we’re still finding these large gains. That suggests that there may be something about the opportunities in the North that they were benefiting from.”