Exploring the Structures of the Population Migration Networks among U.S. Counties from 1980-2011

Authors: Zengwang Xu*, University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
Topics: Population Geography, Quantitative Methods, United States
Keywords: Network analysis, Migration
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Bayside A, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


A period of human population migration among places can be studied as directed and weighted population migration flow networks in which vertices are places and edges are population migration flows between places. This study investigates the population migration networks among counties in the United States for every consecutive year from 1980 to 2011. Various aspects of the topological and weighted structural properties of the networks are explored, including the connectivity, clustering, assortativity, centrality, and community structure. It was found that the networks have demonstrated persistent patterns in spite of the volatile variation of migration streams across the networks and over the years. The networks are highly connected and clustered small-world networks, and they are also scale-free networks in which the heterogeneous distribution of counties’ migration connections and number of migrants can be approximated by power-law distributions. The networks have demonstrated strong hub-and-spoke hierarchical structure, a dissortative structure in which highly connected counties connect with many counties of low-connectivity. The networks have persistent migration regions formed by contiguous counties. It is evident that the network science approach provides the holistic yet in-depth understanding on how the migration population dynamics interact with the connectivity across counties in the United States.

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