Were the Blacks who moved out of the South during the Great Migration more affluent?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
19,981
SoCal
#1
I'm curious about this--were the Blacks who moved out of the Southern U.S. during the Great Migration between 1910 and 1970 (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Migration_(African_American) ) more affluent than those who stayed behind?

Or was the reverse true?

Basically, I am curious about this considering that, for some Third World countries (such as India), the more affluent are probably more likely to emigrate than the less affluent. Thus, I am wondering if the same thing was true of Southern Blacks who moved to the Northern and Western U.S. between 1910 and 1970.

Any thoughts on this? Indeed, does anyone here know where one can find detailed information in regards to the demographics of the African-Americans who underwent the Great Migration and/or the demographics of their descendants?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,075
Dispargum
#2
I assume you mean more affluent before relocating. Assuming they could find jobs in the northern and western US they probably had higher incomes after migrating although the north and west also have higher costs of living.

Affluence could determine who could afford to migrate. The very poor could not afford the costs of moving, never mind the cost of living for several months while looking for work.

It's my understanding that during WW2, labor shortages in the big cities of the north and west drove some managers to the unusual step of recruiting workers in the south where unemployment was relatively high, especially among former sharecroppers. Mechanical cotton-picking machines had recently been invented which put many sharecroppers out of work. Or maybe a better term is evicted off of their rented land. In these cases of managers recruiting southern blacks, it was probably standard practice for the employer to pay the cost of transportation and there was a job waiting for the migrants upon arrival.


Interesting question. I'm awaiting the input of others.
 

Baltis

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
4,005
Texas
#3
There is a book on the Great Migration called 'The Warmth of Other Suns'. I don't know what impression one might get from reading the entire text (it has languished in my que for a couple of years now.) but this little quote is from the opening pages. "During this time, a good portion of all black Americans alive picked up and left the tobacco farms of Virginia, the rice plantations of South Carolina, cotton fields of east Texas and Mississippi, and the villages and backwoods of the remaining southern states - Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee, and, by some measures, Oklahoma. They set out for cities they had whispered of among themselves or had seen in a mail-order catalogue. some came straight from the field with their King James Bibles and old twelve-string guitars. Still more were townspeople looking to be their fuller selves, tradesmen following their customers, pastors trailing their flocks."

https://www.amazon.com/Warmth-Other...1485&sr=8-1&keywords=the+warmth+of+other+suns
 
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Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,050
Canary Islands-Spain
#5
I'm curious about this--were the Blacks who moved out of the Southern U.S. during the Great Migration between 1910 and 1970 (see here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Migration_(African_American) ) more affluent than those who stayed behind?

Or was the reverse true?

Basically, I am curious about this considering that, for some Third World countries (such as India), the more affluent are probably more likely to emigrate than the less affluent. Thus, I am wondering if the same thing was true of Southern Blacks who moved to the Northern and Western U.S. between 1910 and 1970.

Any thoughts on this? Indeed, does anyone here know where one can find detailed information in regards to the demographics of the African-Americans who underwent the Great Migration and/or the demographics of their descendants?

This is a constant in the history of migrations. People need certain amount of wealth to start moving, otherwise, they can't do so. In Europe, small landowners were usually who left, because they had this short pieces of lands that could sell or rent to get the passage and a certain amount of money to survive.

In case of India and other countries of Africa and Asia, most of people moving out of those countries are of middle class, with certain studies and a large family backing with properties. They are usually just a pice on the family economic strategy, they guy who go out to get money to sent back, or staying there help other members to move out (exactly like Europeans did in the past).

Migration of very poor people isn't impossible, though. In case of Europe, as well as India or Africa, they were-are usually bonded by certain conditions like: free passage, 5 years free working. Or in case of modern South Asian labour force in the Gulf, companies move thousands of laborers with very poor payments and living conditions, which are still better than those back home.
 

betgo

Ad Honorem
Jul 2011
6,213
#7
This is a constant in the history of migrations. People need certain amount of wealth to start moving, otherwise, they can't do so. In Europe, small landowners were usually who left, because they had this short pieces of lands that could sell or rent to get the passage and a certain amount of money to survive.
This may have been true of Spanish immigrants to the Americas. It was not true of most to the US south, as there were large numbers of convicts sentenced to work on the plantations, as well as obviously involuntary slaves. There were many younger sons of small landowners and sons of tradesmen. People who owned land in Britain usually stayed where they were.
 

Frank81

Ad Honorem
Feb 2010
5,050
Canary Islands-Spain
#8
On the opposite!!!


The large migration from Britain, Germany and all western and northern Europe, as well as in the South in a later period, was due to the agrarian revolution that emptied the country of peasants.

They sold their lands and went to cities, or to overseas territories and countries. The few land owners in Britain that kept their lands made the modern farmers, which are just survivors of the once largest social group.

The exception in the British Isles were the Irish, probably other groups in Great Britain as well, who migrated as indentured labour because they were very poor.

Slave forced migration is another issue, of course.

This process of empty the country, was one based on three phases:

1. Destruction of traditional peasant communities and expansion of enclosures (with other name in other countries)

2. Mechanization

3. Plunging of prizes

4. Depopulation by migration
 

Rodger

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
6,111
US
#9
Regarding the OP, from what I have read, not necessarily. Some of the poorest were the most desperate to migrate. With that said, the one book I read did sate that most of those who migrated north had had some experience in migrating for work while still in the South and had experience working in industries or jobs other than agrarian ones. This makes sense will one considers that most came north to work in heavy industry or service or even as a proprietor.