Convergence and mobility: Personal income trends in U.S. metropolitan and nonmetropolitan regions

George W. Hammond, Eric Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The authors find evidence of income convergence across all substate labor markets in the lower forty-eight U.S. states during the 1969 to 1999 period. However, convergence is not expressed in a uniform way across metropolitan/nonmetropolitan regions, across time periods, or across census regions. The authors show that catching up within the distribution is more common for nonmetropolitan regions than for metropolitan regions. Furthermore, the largest metropolitan regions show strong tendencies to converge toward the bottom of their income distribution while at the same time showing comparatively little distributional mobility. This contrasts with results for the smallest nonmetropolitan regions, which show no evidence of convergence but high levels of intradistributional mobility. The authors also examine the relationship between human capital accumulation and industry mix and subsequent distributional mobility. The results suggest that educational attainment is positively correlated with growth for metropolitan regions, but it appears to be less correlated with upward mobility within the nonmetropolitan distribution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-63
Number of pages29
JournalInternational Regional Science Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Convergence
  • Income dynamics
  • Metropolitan
  • Mobility
  • Modality
  • Nonmetropolitan

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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