The Migration of Lynch Victims' Families, 1880–1930


Lynching, Migration, Census record linking


We examine the relationship between the lynching of African Americans in the southern United States and subsequent county out-migration of the victims' surviving family members. Using U.S. census records and machine learning methods, we identify the place of residence for family members of Black individuals who were killed by lynch mobs between 1882 and 1929 in the U.S. South. Over the entire period, our analysis finds that lynch victims' family members experienced a 10-percentage-point increase in the probability of migrating to a different county by the next decennial census relative to their same-race neighbors. We also find that surviving family members had a 12-percentage-point increase in the probability of county out-migration compared with their neighbors when the household head was a lynch victim. The out-migration response of the families of lynch victims was most pronounced between 1910 and 1930, suggesting that lynch victims' family members may have been disproportionately represented in the first Great Migration.

Original Publication Citation

Gabriel, Ryan; Adrian Haws, Amy Bailey, and Joseph Price. “The Migration of Lynch Victims’ Families”, 1880-1930, Demography, 60(4), 1235-1256, 2023.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date



Duke University Press




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor