Gender Ratios in Global Migrations, 1850-2000

Trent Alexander, University of Minnesota
Katharine M. Donato, Vanderbilt University
Donna R. Gabaccia, University of Minnesota

Scholars in many disciplines have observed that historically men far outnumbered women among international movers. In recent decades, researchers have begun to point towards a remarkable shift in migrant gender ratios. In the United States, for instance, women constituted less than one-third of all international migrants in 1900, whereas women made up more than one-half of all international migrants in the 1970s. Using nearly a billion individual-level person records from censuses covering all of the major world regions, we propose to map trends in migrant gender ratios among internal and international movers over the past 150 years. We will speak to three key questions: (1) has there in fact been a global shift from male-dominated to gender-balanced migrations? (2) have internal migrants followed different patterns than international migrants? (3) have the patterns for short-distance migrants differed from those for long-distance migrants?

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Presented in Session 119: Migration and Gender