The Geographic Diffusion of the Foreign Born and the Shifting Scale of Spatial Assimilation

Matthew S. Hall, Pennsylvania State University

The regional diffusion of the foreign-born population, in combination with the increasing spatial diversity of metropolitan areas has increased the relevance of detailing how mobility and migration of the foreign born--at different geographic levels--contribute to our understanding of spatial assimilation. Using restricted data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, 1996-1999 and 2001-2003, I examine the individual determinants of migration into destination areas with varying population characteristics, and the subsequent consequences of migration for individual immigrant workers. Preliminary estimates suggest that, consistent with previous research, immigrants are positively selected into secondary migration, although the magnitude of these effects of human capital and acculturation vary by geographic scale. In addition, preliminary findings reveal that while migration is economically-beneficial, the returns to migration vary by both geographic scale and by characteristics of immigrant workers. These findings add to the exploratory body of research detailing the residential circumstances of a rapidly diffuse immigrant population.

  See paper

Presented in Session 148: Immigrant Migration and Dispersion