Abstract

Differences between Southern and non-Southern blacks living in the North and West are considered for a wide variety of attributes such as employment, occupation, income, marital stability, and offspring’s performance in school. Migrant blacks have generally more favorable rates than their Northern- and Western-born compatriots after standard demographic controls are applied to an unusually detailed set of cross-tabulations based on the One-Percent Sample Tapes for 1960. Perhaps the sharpest gap exists with respect to marital condition; Southern blacks of both sexes are more likely to marry and, among those ever married, live more frequently with their spouses. Some of the results reported by earlier investigators require considerable modification. For example, the fact that Northern black men are less often at work than migrants has led to speculations about regional differences in work orientation among blacks, but a detailed analysis of labor force activity indicates this pattern does not hold for women. Likewise, the migrant income advantage is found to vary by education such that it is confined to those with low educational attainment. The use of sample tapes permits a novel analysis of differences between Northern-born blacks classified by whether they are second or at least third generation residents of the North (children of Southern- or Northern-born parents, respectively). For the attribute measured, school performance, the gap is essentially nil. Finally, an alternative is suggested to the existing causal interpretations of North-South gaps among black residents of the North. Reconsidered in particular are the higher labor force rates of migrant men and their more frequent employment in blue collar jobs.

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