America’s great internal migration

What happened when much of the country’s African-American population migration from the South to the North?

In the South, “black outmigration between 1940 and 1970 (4 million, or 40% of African-Americans) from southern counties: i) favored the mechanization of agriculture, in turn increasing the average value per acre of farmed land; ii) induced planters to change their crop-mix, switching away from labor intensive crops such as cotton; and iii) reduced the share of blacks working as farm tenants, likely because white planters shifted from sharecropping on small plots to hired labor on consolidated farms.”

In the North, tracking the northern migration of 1.5 million African-Americans between 1910 and 1930: “Black arrivals increased both the effort exerted by immigrants and their eventual Americanization. These average effects mask substantial heterogeneity: while initially less integrated groups (i.e. Southern and Eastern Europeans) exerted more effort, assimilation success was larger for those that were culturally closer to native whites (i.e. Western and Northern Europeans). These patterns are consistent with a framework in which perceptions of racial threat among native whites lower the barriers to the assimilation of white immigrants.”

These findings from the talented Marco Tabellini.

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