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

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Edward L. Glaeser
  • Jacob L. 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 little evidence of increased nativism in the housing market. Evidence instead points to changes in urban form, manifested in particular as native-driven suburbanization and the decline of public transit as a transportation mode, as a central explanation for the new immigrant segregation.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Harvard - Institute of Economic Research in its series Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers with number 2071.

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Date of creation: 2005
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Handle: RePEc:fth:harver:2071

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  1. Cutler, David & Vigdor, Jacob & Glaeser, Edward, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Scholarly Articles 2770033, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  2. George J. Borjas, 1994. "Ethnicity, Neighborhoods, and Human Capital Externalities," NBER Working Papers 4912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. 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.
  4. Edward L. Glaeser & Matthew E. Kahn & Jordan Rappaport, 2000. "Why Do The Poor Live In Cities?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1891, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. 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.
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