Dispersion or concentration for the 1.5 generation? Destination choices of the children of immigrants in the US

Authors

  • Jamie Goodwin-White

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Social Statistics, Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton, Southampton SW2 4QB, UK
    • Division of Social Statistics, Southampton Statistical Sciences Research Institute, University of Southampton, Southampton SW2 4QB, UK
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Abstract

This paper examines the determinants of intermetropolitan destination choice between 1995 and 2000 for foreign-born and 1.5 generation adult children of immigrants in the US. In addition to distance and labour-force variables, metro-level measures of immigrant–native wage inequality and immigrant concentration are considered. A competing-destinations accessibility parameter is included in order to assess the spatial structure of destination choice. Although assimilation theories, especially in their spatial assimilation variant, might suggest that intergenerational social mobility should be connected with spatial dispersion, these models reveal the continuing importance of metro- and regional-scale immigrant concentration for the children of immigrants. When the destination concentration variable is added to reduced-form models, the positive effect of employment growth declines significantly, indicating that ethnic concentration may continue to be more important for the children of immigrants than more simply framed economic conditions. A comparative origin–destination immigrant–native wage gap measure is also a strongly positive determinant of destination choice, indicating the importance of relative wages in destination choice. Furthermore, the increased model strength and parameter estimates associated with immigrant concentration and a concentration-weighted accessibility measure suggest that the spatial structure of destination choice has much to do with immigrant concentration at multiple scales – from metro areas to immigrant states and regions. The paper thus suggests more attention to theorising the geographical contexts within which intergenerational immigrant incorporation occurs. Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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