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    The association between environmental risk and internal migration flows.

    Hunter LM

    POPULATION AND ENVIRONMENT. 1998 Jan; 19(3):247-77.

    This study examined the relationships between US county-level in- and out-migration streams and environmental risks. Data were obtained from the 1990 US Census among 3109 counties during 1985-90. Risk measures included air and water quality, hazardous waste sites, toxic releases, and Superfund sites. Environmental data were obtained from the US Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) Right to Know Network (RTK-NET) on-line database. Air quality data were based on the Aerometic Information Retrieval System. Water quality data were based on EPA defined public water contamination levels from EPA's Office of Groundwater and Drinking Water. Hazardous waste data were available from LandView II database and EPA's Biennial Reporting System. Toxic release data were obtained from the EPA Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxic Release Inventory database. Superfund sites data were obtained from the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Information System accessed through RTK-NET. Socioeconomic measures included economic conditions, population compositions, home ownership, urban location, and region. High levels of in-migration were in the West. High environmental risk locations were in counties surrounding Los Angeles, New York City, and portions of Washington state. Findings suggest decreasing rates of population influx with increasing environmental risk, particularly for air quality. 831 counties had hazardous waste facilities. High risk areas did not lose residents at rates greater than areas without high risk. Areas with little environmental risk and low population density were migrant destinations. Aggregation at the county level may mask within county relationships. Analysis within metropolitan statistical areas confirmed the negative relationship. Hazardous conditions may not be a push factor due to lack of economic opportunities and lower housing costs.
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