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Arrival Cohort, Assimilation, and the Earnings of Caribbean Women in the United States


  • Tod Hamilton



Utilizing data on U.S.-born and Caribbean-born black women from the 1980–2000 U.S. Censuses and the 2000–2007 waves of the American Community Survey, I document the impact of cohort of arrival, tenure of U.S. residence, and country/region of birth on the earnings and earnings assimilation of black women born in the English-, French-, and Spanish-speaking Caribbean. I also test whether selective migration accounts for earnings differences between U.S.-born and Caribbean-born black women in the United States. I show that almost all arrival cohorts of Caribbean women earn less than U.S.-born black women when they first arrive in the United States. However, over time the earnings of early arrival cohorts from the English- and French-speaking Caribbean are projected to surpass the earnings of U.S.-born black women. Indeed, this crossover is most pronounced for women from the English-speaking Caribbean. In models that account for selective migration by comparing the earnings of Caribbean women to U.S.-born black women who have moved across states since birth, I show that more time is required for early arrival cohorts from the English- and French-speaking Caribbean to surpass the earnings of U.S.-born black internal migrants. Women from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean do not seem to experience earnings growth as their tenure of U.S. residence increases. In summary, the findings suggest that selective migration is an important determinant of earnings differences between U.S.-born black women and black women from the Caribbean. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2012

Suggested Citation

  • Tod Hamilton, 2012. "Arrival Cohort, Assimilation, and the Earnings of Caribbean Women in the United States," The Review of Black Political Economy, Springer;National Economic Association, vol. 39(4), pages 445-460, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:blkpoe:v:39:y:2012:i:4:p:445-460
    DOI: 10.1007/s12114-012-9133-7

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