The Great Migration, Place Effects and Children's Education

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


This project aims to study the effects of the Great Migration on the education of African American children by analyzing the outcomes of mover households in the 1940 Census. We will estimate place effects at county-level controlling for movers’ origin locations and a range of household characteristics related to educational attainment. Our approach is based on a strategy developed by Finkelstein et al. (2019) to adjust for unobservable differences between households that move to different areas. In preliminary analysis, we find evidence of substantial heterogeneity in place effects during the Great Migration. Moving from the 10th to the 90th percentile location would increase educational attainment by 1.35 years. Destinations for black families that have beneficial impacts on educational attainment are overwhelmingly located outside the South. In future work, we will explore mechanisms by studying correlations between estimated place effects and other characteristics such as local school quality, crime and social capital.

Grant Product

The Great Migration and Educational Opportunity Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Working Paper No. 22-04, 2022

The Great Migration and Educational Opportunity Upjohn Institute Working Paper No. 22-367, 2022

How the Great Migration Changed Black Children’s Educational Attainment Upjohn Institute Policy and Research Brief No. 46, 2022

Baran, Cavit, Eric Chyn, and Bryan A. Stuart. 2022. "How the Great Migration Changed Black Children’s Educational Attainment." Employment Research 29(3): 4-6. https://doi.org/10.17848/1075-8445.29(3)-2