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Why Immigrants Leave New Destinations And Where Do They Go?


  • Mary M. Kritz
  • Douglas T. Gurak
  • Min-Ah Lee


Immigrants have a markedly higher likelihood of migrating internally if they live in new estinations. This paper looks at why that pattern occurs and at how immigrants’ out-migration to new versus traditional destinations responds to their labor market economic and industrial structure, nativity origins and concentration, geographic region, and 1995 labor market type. Confidential data from the 2000 and 1990 decennial censuses are used for the analysis. Metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas are categorized into 741 local labor markets and classified as new or traditional based on their nativity concentrations of immigrants from the largest Asian, Caribbean and Latin American origins. The analysis showed that immigrants were less likely to migrate to new destinations if they lived in areas of higher nativity concentration, foreign-born population growth, and wages but more likely to make that move if they were professionals, agricultural or blue collar workers, highly educated, fluent in English, and lived in other new destinations. While most immigrants are more likely to migrate to new rather than traditional destinations that outcome differs sharply for immigrants from different origins and for some immigrants, particularly those from the Caribbean, the dispersal process to new destinations has barely started.

Suggested Citation

  • Mary M. Kritz & Douglas T. Gurak & Min-Ah Lee, 2013. "Why Immigrants Leave New Destinations And Where Do They Go?," Working Papers 13-32, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
  • Handle: RePEc:cen:wpaper:13-32

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Greenwood, Michael J., 1981. "Migration and Economic Growth in the United States," Elsevier Monographs, Elsevier, edition 1, number 9780123006509 edited by Mills, Edwin S..
    2. Ann P. Bartel & Marianne J. Koch, 1991. "Internal Migration of U.S. Immigrants," NBER Chapters,in: Immigration, Trade, and the Labor Market, pages 121-134 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Elwood Carlson, 1985. "The impact of international migration upon the timing of marriage and childbearing," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 22(1), pages 61-72, February.
    4. Jennifer Hook & Jennifer Glick, 2007. "Immigration and living arrangements: Moving beyond economic need versus acculturation," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 44(2), pages 225-249, May.
    5. Mary Kritz & Douglas Gurak & Min-Ah Lee, 2011. "Will They Stay? Foreign-Born Out-Migration from New U.S. Destinations," Population Research and Policy Review, Springer;Southern Demographic Association (SDA), vol. 30(4), pages 537-567, August.
    6. Nancy Landale, 1994. "Migration and the latino family: The union formation behavior of Puerto Rican women," Demography, Springer;Population Association of America (PAA), vol. 31(1), pages 133-157, February.
    7. Ellis, Mark & Goodwin-White, Jamie, 2006. "1.5 Generation Internal Migration in the US: Dispersion from States of Immigration?," IZA Discussion Papers 2274, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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