May 27, 2015

Transplants more disconnected from family-by-marriage

An earlier post showed that inter-regional transplants are less connected to their extended blood relations. What about their extended family through marriage?

The General Social Survey asks "how often you have been in contact with" various people you're related to, by blood or by marriage, during the past four weeks. I graded responses as simply having any contact or having no contact at all, to keep the findings unambiguous -- no contact at all within the past four weeks is pretty socially disconnected. (The differences are even starker when looking at those with more frequent vs. less frequent contact.)

I've restricted the sample to whites in order to keep kinship norms similar across respondents, and I've compared natives to transplants within three separate class levels (shown by years of education: 0-12, 13-16, and 17-20). I only looked at respondents who actually had a living relative of the type asked about.

First, people who have moved across Census regions between adolescence and adulthood are far less likely to be in contact with their brothers- and sisters-in-law:

Percent in contact with sibling-in-law

Class: % natives ___ % transplants

Lower: 72 ___ 54

Middle: 71 ___ 50

Upper: 73 ___ 69

Transplants are also much less likely to be in contact with their parents-in-law, and the magnitude of the difference is the same as with siblings-in-law:

Percent in contact with parent-in-law

Class: % natives ___ % transplants

Lower: 67 ___ 56

Middle: 72 ___ 49

Upper: 78 ___ 76

You'd think that transplants would be better able to keep in contact with their family-in-law than their blood family. Their blood relations were left behind by the very act of transplanting, but their spouse's family may be from the same region that the transplant moved to.

Instead, there seems to be a greater general aversion that transplants have toward extended family, whether they are by blood or by marriage.

Not wanting to be rooted by geography goes along with not wanting to be rooted by kinship either. Let me do whatever I want, with whomever I want, wherever I want. It's no wonder the rootless West is so libertarian and on the brink of collapse.

GSS variables: sibinlaw, parslaw, regtrans (reg16, region), race, educ


  1. We see that transplants are a lot different than other people. But, as you said before, moving away also makes you more of a sociopath. when equality begins to rise, we will see those who were good originally, and became bad because of a good environment; vs. those who are genetically prone to be transplants.

  2. I meant, bad because of a bad environment, i.e. not having any relatives or old friends in the area to keep them honest.

  3. interestingly, a supposed military assessment predicts that, when America experiences another recession, the bulk of the population will leave for the third world. this seems like it would go in line with the status-striving trend, as all the status-strivers simply leave for greener pastures:

    "then America may experience an event so massive that some 78% of our population would be wiped out, leaving just 68 million people living on American soil by 2025.

    The key element to understand the process that the USA will enter in the upcoming decade is migration. In the past, specially in the 20th century, the key factor that allowed the USA to rise to its colossus status was immigration with the benefits of a demographic expansion supporting the credit expansion and the brain drain from the rest of the world benefiting the States."

  4. "Jobs offshoring will surely end with many American Corporations relocating overseas thus becoming foreign Corporations! We see a significant part of the American population migrating to Latin America and Asia while migration to Europe – suffering a similar illness – won’t be relevant."

    Makes some sense, though it may be exaggerated. It seems like there was migration out of the country during the 1920s(during the beginning of the great contraction) - I'm thinking of the Lost Generation hanging out in Paris, and those expats who participated in the Spanish American War.

  5. The main reasons people leave are either to seek employment opportunities (like when a factor closes in a company town) or because their home towns are not good places to live (high crime or coming from a bad family and wanting to escape). But the citizens of the original colonies were transplants who left for the same reasons. One can say that we are a nation of transplants.

  6. " But the citizens of the original colonies were transplants who left for the same reasons. One can say that we are a nation of transplants."

    There's a difference between being a transplant and being a frontiersman or colonist. Transplants move into an existing community and into a house that's already been built. Frontiersman build communities in empty territory. A lot of the immigration into America took place in a period of rising equality, but rather than being transplants, those people built communities where there was nothing before.

  7. According to Peter Turchin's cyclical theory, the period from about 1820-1870 was one of rising equality. But it was also a period of intense immigration into America - yet the immigration was more of the frontiersman variety, with immigrants building whole cities where there had been nothing before. The West was settled during this time, for instance.


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