The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978 Page: 252
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
researcher has found that in Boston during the 185os, the movement
of people into the city was about eleven times as large as the number
of persons who actually stayed in the city to be counted as the net num-
ber of new residents in 186o; thus, more than ()o percent of those who
moved into Boston during the decade left there before the census of
186o.4 If the rate of turnover in Houston was even a quarter that of
Boston, then many thousands of persons lived there for a short time
during the 185os before moving on.
It seems evident that Houston exhibited the rapid turnover of pop-
ulation that Stephan Thernstrom and others have argued was a na-
tional phenomenon experienced by communities of all sizes and types.
In The Other Bostonians, Thernstrom wrote:
However glaring the differences between tiny farming communities, small
industrial cities, and major metropolitan centers in other respects, they had
in common a crucial demographic chatacteristic-their populations were
leaving them for other destinations at a rapid and surprisingly uniform
Thernstrom supported this hypothesis with data presented in two
tables for which he brought together all the information on persistence
rates that had been published or that was available to him from unpub-
lished sources. The two tables include fifteen decadal persistence rates
for towns in the pre-Civil War years and for forty-two communities in
the postwar period. Of the fifteen prewar cases, eleven deal with various
Massachusetts communities, three with Philadelphia, and the last with
Wapello County, Iowa. Eighteen of the decadal persistence rates for the
postwar era were not calculated for individual towns at all, but for re-
gions of Kansas. Seven other rates are for Massachusetts towns in vari-
ous decades, three for Norristown, Pennsylvania, and two each for
Poughkeepsie, New York, Omaha, Nebraska, San Francisco and Los
Angeles, California, and Trempealeau County, Wisconsin. The remain-
ing rates apply to Atlanta, Georgia, San Antonio, Texas, Grant County,
Wisconsin, and Roseburg, Oregon, at different periods.',
This group of studies is clearly biased in two directions. In the first
place, most of the research deals with communities in the northeastern
4Peter R. Knights, "Population Turnover, Persistence, and Residential Mobility in Bos-
ton, 1830o-6o," in Nineteenth-Century Cities: Essays in the New Urban History, ed. Ste-
phan Thernstrom and Richard Sennett (New Haven, 1969), 262.
5Stephan Thernstrom, The Other Bostonzans: Poverty and Progress in the American Me-
tropolis (Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1973), 227.
OIbid., 222-223, 226-227.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 81, July 1977 - April, 1978, periodical, 1977/1978; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101205/m1/292/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.