The Long-Run and Intergenerational Effects of Helping Families Migrate Out of Rural and Distressed America

Publication Date


Grant Type

Early Career Research Award


It is well documented that, on average, families living in rural and economically distressed areas are worse off. Rural and distressed areas (as defined by Bartik, 2020) have seen years of decreased labor force participation (David et al., 2013) and declining health (Case and Deaton, 2015; Snyder, 2016). Rural mothers have lower earnings (Bastian, 2021) and higher levels of poverty (Snyder and McLaughlin, 2004) than urban and suburban mothers. Bastian and Black (2023) use public ACS data to show that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) helps families move out of rural and distressed areas. This paper uses linked administrative tax data to look at the long-run and intergenerational effects of EITC-led migration out of rural and distressed areas. I characterize these moves by comparing the Census-Tract-level traits of where these families moved to and from. I examine whether EITC-led migration affects residential segregation by race, immigration, and poverty status. I also examine how effects vary by household traits and whether the intergenerational effects vary by children’s age at migration, as found by Chetty et al. (2016). This project will help policymakers understand whether additional support—perhaps support targeted to people living in certain types of areas—would lead to even more migration to economic opportunity.