The objectives of this paper are (1) to evaluate the accuracy of the intervening opportunities-competing migrants hypothesis (Stouffer, 1960) in estimating 1955-1960 interstate migration streams in the United States and (2) to compare the results with those obtained by Galle and Taeuber (1966) for metropolitan migration. Our results strongly confirm Stouffer’s hypothesis and yield parameter estimates highly comparable to those obtained for metropolitan migration, except that competing migrants exert a stronger influence than intervening opportunities in interstate migration.

Our study is based on 2,256 interstate migration flows in the continental United States, whereas Stouffer’s intercity study and Galle and Taeuber’s metropolitan study were each based on 116 migration flows. Our results indicate that Stouffer’s theory holds for different levels of aggregation with remarkable consistency.

Several theoretical models of the migration process are more compatible with Stouffer’s original 1940 formulation of intervening opportunities than his 1960 reformulation. Estimates for interstate data indicate that the 1940 definition provides slightly better results. For both these reasons, it would seem that the 1940 formulation should be given serious consideration in future tests of Stouffer’s hypothesis.

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