Will the freeze of '77 bring on the migration of '78?: a view from the southland

by Peter A. Morrison

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A brief speculation about last winter's possible impact on regional migration patterns, argued largely by analogy from past episodes. No immediate massive migration is foreseen, although the "big freeze" may have set the stage for an exodus that could be triggered by a second or third severe winter. Once begun, a flood of migration to the South and West might continue for many years, whether or not future winters are severe. This speculation is based on two commonsense principles: (1) people begin to leave an area only after they have had hard times for several successive years; and (2) people experience deprivation only relatively. If a wave of migration to the Sunbelt is triggered, water-scarce areas in the Southwest might react by enacting measures to control growth.

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