Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

James J. Nolan.

Committee Co-Chair

Ronald Althouse

Committee Member

Jennifer Steele


Using the geocoded version of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1979 (NLSY79), this study examines patterns of internal migration in the United States by investigating individual residential mobility between low socioeconomic and high socioeconomic counties. Specifically, through the use of data between the years of 1979 and 2002, this study asks three questions. First, if the sending community is socioeconomically different than the receiving community where the migrant lives during middle age, does this show upward, downward or lateral status movement? Second, do migrants tend to move from less desirable communities to communities with higher socioeconomic standards of living? Third, what is the relationship between education and upward mobility, as the individual education levels increases is there movement to communities with higher socioeconomic standards of living? This analysis examines migration outcomes for individuals who in 1979 were between the ages of 14 and 21 and 23 years later where between the ages of 37 and 45 years of age in 2002, the latter period represents when individuals are entering middle age. Life cycle events, such as education, entry into the labor force and the start of marriage and childbearing tend to be complete at this stage of life cycle and migration is less frequent.