Immigration and regional wage rates

I was reading the interesting-but-not-nearly-as-good-as-it could-have-been Blessed Among Nations: How the World Made America, by Eric Rauchway.  The main argument concerns how modern-day America is rooted in choices from the early twentieth century.  I came across the following passage:

The great push of people west across the oceans and west again across the continent passed the South by.  Its people lived in an eddy of the global flow that entered the country at New York (where almost a quarter of the new immigrants stayed) and sluiced along the rail lines to California.  Indeed, in the wash of this passing current, the South was losing its own labor force, more swiftly each year, as black workers left their homes looking for the better chances they had heard about in the North and West.  Of those who left the South, the largest part (about 40 percent) went to the industrial states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Illinois…

OK, this is not a controlled experiment.  But we have one part of the country — the North — taking in many immigrants.  The South is losing a great deal of its unskilled, low-education labor at the same time, and it is losing that labor to the North.  Think of that as additional immigration into the North and of course away from the South.

I am far away from home and have no access to data.  Does anyone know?  If we look at the wages of native white Americans — in the South and in the North — over this same period of time, where do people fare better?

Please leave your knowledge in the comments.


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