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Is the Melting Pot Still Hot? Explaining the Resurgence of Immigrant Segregation

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  • David Cutler
  • Edward Glaeser
  • Jacob Vigdor

Abstract

This paper uses decennial Census data to examine trends in immigrant segregation in the United States between 1910 and 2000. Immigrant segregation declined in the first half of the century, but has been rising steadily over the past three decades. Analysis of restricted access 1990 Census microdata suggests that this rise would be even more striking if the native-born children of immigrants could be consistently excluded from the analysis. We analyze panel and cross-sectional variation in immigrant segregation, as well as housing price patterns across metropolitan areas, to test four hypotheses of immigrant segregation. Immigration itself has surged in recent decades, but the tendency for newly arrived immigrants to be younger and of lower socioeconomic status explains very little of the recent rise in immigrant segregation. We also find no evidence of increased nativism in the housing market. Evidence instead points to changes in urban form, particularly the tendency for ethnic enclaves to form as suburbanizing households leave older neighborhoods, as a central explanation for the new immigrant segregation.

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File URL: ftp://ftp2.census.gov/ces/wp/2004/CES-WP-04-10.pdf
File Function: First version, 2004
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau in its series Working Papers with number 04-10.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: Aug 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:04-10

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  1. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Nancy A. Denton & Douglas S. Massey, . "Residential Segregation of Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians by Socioeconomic Status and Generation," University of Chicago - Population Research Center 88-2, Chicago - Population Research Center.
  3. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do the Poor Live in Cities?," NBER Working Papers 7636, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Denton, N.A. & Massey, D.S., 1988. "Residential Segregation Of Blacks, Hispanics, And Asians By Socioeconomic Status And Generation," University of Chicago - Economics Research Center 88-2, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
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