Determinants of Southern Nevada in-migration: Similarities and differences between labor force and elderly migrants

Chittima Bejrananda, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Studies concerned with Southern Nevada in-migration flows have previously based their conclusions upon limited data and assumptions; further, they have stressed the importance of economic conditions in the states of origin as the primary cause of migration. This study, however, presents a more complete migration model of Clark County's in-migrants--one which differs from previous migration studies. First, the model uses the Ordinary Least Squares technique and the pooled cross-sectional (50 origin states) time-series (1986-92) data approach to analyze determinants of migration decisions for two specific groups of migrants. Migrants aged 19 to 60 years (the labor force), and migrants aged 60 and over (the elderly) comprise these two groups. Second, this single model examines both economic and non-economic factors as possible determinants of migration to Clark County. These factors include economic characteristics, cost of living, quality of life, and the availability of necessary services in the states of origin relative to Nevada. Empirical results suggest that there are similarities and differences between the labor force's and the elderly's determinants of migration; In general, both economic and non-economic determinants impact the migration decisions of the labor force to a far greater degree than they do elderly migrants. Even so, the elderly tend to be significantly influenced both by non-economic characteristics and the cost of living in the area. More specifically, Clark County tends to attract migrants--whether labor force or elderly--from states with higher housing costs, high tax rates, and higher crime rates than Nevada. On the other hand, states with high levels of per capita personal income tend to deter both groups of migrants from migrating to Nevada. Also, as might be expected, distance functions as a major barrier, discouraging both labor force and elderly migrants from relocating to Nevada. In addition, for labor force migrants, relatively high personal income growth and high unemployment rates in the states of origin tend to be significant deterring factors as well.