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Is it Race, Immigrant Status, or Both? An Analysis of Wage Disparities among Men in the United States1

Authors


  • 1

    The authors thank David James, Brian Powell, Rob Robinson, Michael Rosenbaum, Leah VanWey, Tukufu Zuberi, the members of the Junior Faculty Working Group, and the participants in the Political, Economic, and Cultural Workshop in the Department of Sociology at Indiana University for their comments on and conversations regarding earlier drafts. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in San Francisco, CA, and the 2008 Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association in Boston, MA.

Abstract

The intersection of race and immigrant status forms a unique social space where minority group members and immigrants are afforded or denied the privileges that are routinely accorded to native-born, non-Hispanic whites. Yet recent research on the intersection of race and immigrant status is inconsistent in its findings, limited to a small number of racial groups, and does not account for the geographic distribution of racial/ethnic groups. In this paper, we shed light on the intersection of race and immigrant status by answering two questions: (1) Do racial disparities in socioeconomic outcomes vary by nativity? and (2) Do native-immigrant disparities in socioeconomic outcomes vary by race? Using 2000 Census data linked to metropolitan area and sending country data, we find that racial disparities are similar and significant among natives and immigrants (Question 1). Asians, blacks, and Latinos fare significantly worse than their white counterparts in both the native and immigrant populations. Furthermore, our analysis of native-immigrant wage disparities by race reveals that the immigrant experience is considerably worse for Asians, blacks, and Latinos (Question 2). These groups also receive fewer wage returns to years spent in the U.S. and their wage disparities are magnified by the percentage of immigrants in a metropolitan area – whereas all whites receive a wage premium when living in an area with a larger share of immigrants. The results suggest that race and immigrant status work in concert to uniquely influence the social experience of immigrant minorities in the U.S.

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