Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology

Research by Stewart Tolnay and Christine Leibbrand on the Outcomes of the Great Migration for the Next Generation Featured in Citylab

Posted: 2/6/2018 (CSDE in the News)

A recent CityLab article highlights a study by affiliate Stewart Tolnay, Professor of Sociology, and CSDE Trainee Christine Leibbrand, graduate student in the Department of Sociology—along with colleagues at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan—that assesses the outcomes of the Great Migration for the children of migrants. While there have been a number of studies on the migrants themselves, Tolnay, Leibbrand, and their co-authors turn their attention to how the Great Migration affected the next generation. As the article points out, their study—published in Demography—is the first to explore if improved economic outcomes for migrants benefited their children. The study finds this to be the case for children of African American migrants, who fared better when it came to education, income, and rates of poverty. Outcomes were not the same for the children of white migrants, however, which may have been due to greater labor competition for whites in the north, along with the comparatively vast opportunities for improvement for blacks from their previous conditions in the south. Could these outcomes have led to attitudes of racism and economic anxiety amongst whites? According to Tolnay, “‘[whites] might have perceived that blacks were taking jobs that they thought [whites] should have, but the black labor market was so segregated by race that this’ likely was not the reality.” You can access the full article at the link below.

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