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Foreign-born population concentration and neighbourhood growth and development within US metropolitan areas


  • Matt Ruther

    (University of Louisville, USA)

  • Rebbeca Tesfai

    (Temple University, USA)

  • Janice Madden

    (University of Pennsylvania, USA)


Immigrant populations are a major driver of growth in many US metropolitan areas, and considerable research has focused on the effects of immigrant populations on neighbourhood outcomes. However, much of this research is based on data from 1990 or earlier, prior to substantial growth in the diversity of the immigrant population and to changes in immigrants’ US settlement patterns. This research uses tract-level data from the 2000 Decennial Census and the 2009–2013 American Community Survey to explore the relationship between an existing immigrant population and future changes in neighbourhood characteristics within the 100 largest US metropolitan areas. Spatial regression models are used to identify the neighbourhood features that predict future proportional growth in a neighbourhood’s foreign-born population. In addition, the associations between a neighbourhood’s initial foreign-born concentration and future neighbourhood relative income and population growth are investigated. Consistent with previous work, our results indicate that foreign-born populations of all races tend to move towards existing immigrant population clusters. All of the immigrant minority racial groups are also attracted to neighbourhoods with existing same-race US-born populations. Overall proportional population growth is positively associated with the initial presence of the white and Asian immigrant population; black and Hispanic immigrant concentrations are associated with proportional population loss. While immigrants do not contribute to neighbourhood relative income growth, a greater presence of immigrants – relative to their US-born co-racial group – is associated with lower rates of neighbourhood relative income decline.

Suggested Citation

  • Matt Ruther & Rebbeca Tesfai & Janice Madden, 2018. "Foreign-born population concentration and neighbourhood growth and development within US metropolitan areas," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 55(4), pages 826-843, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:55:y:2018:i:4:p:826-843

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    Cited by:

    1. Justyna Przywojska & Aldona Podgórniak-Krzykacz & Justyna Wiktorowicz, 2019. "Perceptions of Priority Policy Areas and Interventions for Urban Sustainability in Polish Municipalities: Can Polish Cities Become Smart, Inclusive and Green?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 11(14), pages 1-24, July.


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