Does Place Matter? Metro Area Differences in the Gains to Human Capital for Hispanic Immigrants in the U.S.

Kyle Anne Nelson, University of Maryland
Joan R. Kahn, University of Maryland

The unprecedented movement of Hispanic immigrants to new growth areas raises important questions about the ability of immigrants to succeed in labor markets that do not have a long tradition of incorporating immigrants. In this study, we ask whether Hispanic immigrants benefit more from their human capital in traditional gateway cities compared to the new magnet cities that have seen so much recent growth. We use Census 2000 data to compare earnings for male Hispanic immigrants across 28 metropolitan areas categorized based on the “immigrant gateway types” defined by Singer (2004). Our multivariate work examines the role of immigrant-related human capital factors (such as age at migration and English language ability) as well as metro area level characteristics (such as rate of unemployment) in shaping the earnings profiles of Hispanic immigrants. Preliminary findings suggest that Hispanic immigrants earn more in traditional gateway areas than in newer magnet cities.

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