Immigrant Settlement Patterns: The Role of Metropolitan Characteristics

Jim Baird, Georgia State University
Robert M. Adelman, Georgia State University
Lesley Reid, Georgia State University
Charles Jaret, Georgia State University

As immigration continues to redefine the U.S., interest in the settlement patterns of immigrants grows. In this analysis we pay special attention to the settlement patterns of immigrants who entered the U.S. between 1990 and 2000. We assess those theories that emphasize the social, and those that emphasize the economic, characteristics as the principal pulls of immigrants to metropolitan areas. Moreover, we consider a variety of other metropolitan-level characteristics that may, or may not, predict the settlement patterns of immigrants. Using a representative sample of 150 metropolitan areas from the Census 2000, we regress the percentage increase in foreign-born persons between 1990 and 2000 on metropolitan-level variables such as percentage employed in manufacturing and percentage black. A key finding is that the higher a metropolitan area stands on a measure of globalization, the greater the increase in percentage foreign-born between 1990 and 2000.

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Presented in Session 144: Recent Patterns of Internal Migration in the U.S.