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Measuring the Spatial Focus of Migration Patterns

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The changing territorial concentration of migration flows is of interest to many geographers, yet we still do not have a widely accepted index of spatial focus. The much used index of migration efficiency has been shown to be an inadequate index of such spatial concentration, and two candidates have been suggested to replace it: the Gini index and the coefficient of variation. Both are examined in this paper, and a comparative assessment is offered. Data from the 1970, 1980, and 1990 censuses are used to illustrate the two measures. An examination of the findings reveals that the coefficient of variation measure indicates higher levels of spatial focus than does the Gini index for states with highly concentrated flows.

Keywords: Gini index; Interstate migration; coefficient of variation; spatial concentration

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: University of Colorado, 2: University of North Carolina

Publication date: 1998-05-01

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