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Rural Immigrant Population Growth, 1950-2000: Waves or Ripples?


  • Dust, Andrew
  • Orazem, Peter
  • Wohlgemuth, Darin


Using U.S. Census data from 1950 to 2000, this paper provides a framework to compare the responses of immigrant and native population growth to the economic incentives offered by rural counties in the Midwest and the South. We find that in marked contrast to traditional destinations for new immigrants such as urban areas or rural California, growth of the immigrant population in these nontraditional rural destinations is not tied to concentrations of existing immigrant populations. Rural immigrant population growth is more responsive than native populations to economic incentives and immigrant growth is not affected by local welfare or other government services. The native-born population tends to respond more to growth in specific industries, while immigrant populations are more responsive to overall employment growth. Rural immigrant population growth is not positively influenced by levels of local welfare or other public services. Compared to earlier immigrant groups, more recent waves of rural immigrants are influenced more by the number of jobs than by income levels in deciding where to live.

Suggested Citation

  • Dust, Andrew & Orazem, Peter & Wohlgemuth, Darin, 2008. "Rural Immigrant Population Growth, 1950-2000: Waves or Ripples?," Staff General Research Papers Archive 12920, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:12920

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Timothy R. Wojan, 2000. "The Composition of Rural Employment Growth in the “New Economy”," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 82(3), pages 594-605.
    2. Robert J. Barro, 1991. "Economic Growth in a Cross Section of Countries," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(2), pages 407-443.
    3. Romana Khan & Peter F. Orazem & Daniel M. Otto, 2001. "Deriving Empirical Definitions of Spatial Labor Markets: The Roles of Competing Versus Complementary Growth," Journal of Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(4), pages 735-756.
    4. Steven C. Deller & Tsung-Hsiu (Sue) Tsai & David W. Marcouiller & Donald B.K. English, 2001. "The Role of Amenities and Quality of Life In Rural Economic Growth," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 83(2), pages 352-365.
    5. Steven Haider & Robert F. Schoeni & Yuhua Bao & Caroline Danielson, 2001. "Immigrants, Welfare Reform, and the Economy in the 1990s," Working Papers 01-13, RAND Corporation.
    6. Mark Drabenstott & Mark Henry & Kristin Mitchell, 1999. "Where have all the packing plants gone? : the new meat geography in rural America," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q III, pages 65-82.
    7. Artz, Georgeanne M. & Orazem, Peter F., 2006. "Reexamining Rural Decline: How Changing Rural Classifications Affect Perceived Growth," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 36(2), pages 163-191.
    8. Steven J. Haider & Robert F. Schoeni & Yuhua Bao & Caroline Danielson, 2004. "Immigrants, welfare reform, and the economy," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(4), pages 745-764.
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    Cited by:

    1. Mahasuweerachai, Phumsith & Whitacre, Brian E. & Shideler, Dave W., 2010. "Does Broadband Access Impact Migration in America? Examining Differences between Rural and Urban Areas," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 40(1), pages 5-26.

    More about this item


    Rural; population; migration; Welfare; immigrant; native-born; incentives; income; jobs; public services;

    JEL classification:

    • R00 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General - - - General

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