Immigrant Residential Patterns in U.S. Metropolitan Areas, 1990-2000

John Iceland, University of Maryland
Melissa Scopilliti, University of Maryland

We examine whether spatial assimilation theory provides a good framework for understanding immigrant segregation patterns. We used restricted data from the 1990 and 2000 censuses to calculate dissimilarity and isolation indexes for various racial/ethnic, nativity, and year-of-entry groups, and then conducted multivariate analyses to see if group and metropolitan characteristics help explain differences. We find that spatial assimilation helps us understand many of the segregation patterns. Foreign-born Hispanics and Asians are generally as, or more, segregated from native-born non-Hispanic Whites than the native born, and newer arrivals are more segregated than others. Many patterns can be explained by the characteristics of the foreign born, such as lower levels of education and English language ability, that are associated with higher levels of segregation. However, some patterns do not conform to the predictions of spatial assimilation—Black immigrants are more segregated than other immigrants and group characteristics do less to explain Black segregation.

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Presented in Poster Session 6: Migration, Urbanization, Neighborhood and Residential Context