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The recession changes U.S. migration patterns

Newly hired census worker Sierra Carter of Baltimore, Md. stands at an information table at the official opening of the East Baltimore Census Office

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: According to new Census data, people are not moving around the country like they were before the economic downturn. People are moving less now than at any time since the census bureau started tracking migration patterns.

Kenneth Johnson is a senior demographer at the Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire. Good morning.

KENNETH JOHNSON: Good morning.

CHIOTAKIS: What are the economic ramifications for decreased migration?

JOHNSON: Migration has always been one of the ways that the United States has adjusted its labor force. It's a way to move skill and talent and muscle around, so slowing of the migration streams probably complicates the recovery. Also migration creates opportunity as well, so in areas that have gained a lot of migrants, that means there has to be new houses built, there has to be new infrastructure. So that creates lots of jobs. It also fuels future economic growth by increasing the tax base. So for states that have been used to receiving lots of migrants like Florida, the dramatic slowdown in the amount of migration would hurt their economy and contrast the states that have been loosing lots of migrates like the northern Rust Belt states probably helps their economy a little bit not to lose so many people.

CHIOTAKIS: Is it just as easy Kenneth saying you know when times get better the migration will pick up again?

JOHNSON: You know that's a really good question and I think that this recession may have sobered a lot of people about moving. You can see in duel wage earning households where in the past, if somebody got a better job offer someplace else, the family might move thinking well the other person will get a job and we'll be able to do OK with the house. I suspect this time we may see more reluctance of people to move and the migration rates to be slower to pick up the mayhem in the past.

CHIOTAKIS: Certainly some interesting stuff. Kenneth Johnson, senior demographer over at the University of New Hampsire. Kenneth thank you.

JOHNSON: Nice talking to you.

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