Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Sociology and Rural Studies

First Advisor

Weiwei Zhang


foreign-born Migrants, Internal Migrants, Locational Characteristics, Native-born Migrants, Population Change, Urban/Rural Division


The United States is one of the most mobile countries in the world. This paper examined a couple of questions not previously addressed in the literature, namely the research questions of how the distributional patterns and associated factors, especially locational characteristics could be different between two types of internal migrants: native-born and foreign-born. The central hypothesis that guided the analysis was that income is often the primary push factor and key contributor to population growth in a county for both types of internal migrants, as they would be more likely to live in a county with a good economic conditions and high job growth percentages. The results support and build on past research findings showing that overall county-level population trends are linked to county economic profiles for both groups, as migrants are more likely live the places with growth in job opportunities and high economic payoff. There are differences in terms the destination type between native-born and foreign-born internal migrants. Native-born migrants are more like to move to metro areas that are associated with job growth compared to the foreign-born internal migrants. The predict models showed that when the job opportunities are the same between metro and non-metro areas, native populations tend to move to metro areas, while job growth in rural counties may not be associated with growth in foreign-born population.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Migration, Internal -- United States.
Population geography -- United States.
Rural-urban divide -- United States.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright