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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Residential Choices of the Newly Arrived Foreign Born: Spatial Patterns and the Implications for Assimilation

  • Author(s): Clark, William A. V.
  • Patel, Shila
  • et al.

The preponderance of work on the assimilation of the foreign born makes only passing reference to their spatial patterns. This study uses data from the 1990 and 2000 PUMS for the Los Angeles metropolitan area, to examine the residential choices of the newly arrived (since 1985 and 1995) foreign born, and to re-examine the evidence for spatial assimilation. While the central city continues to receive lower income immigrants with lower levels of human capital there are also professionals arriving in the central city. Similarly, the suburbs, at least in this case study receive both households with lower levels of human capital and professionals. In part this may be due to the increasingly multi-nodal structure of large metropolitan areas. It appears that the spatial patterns are more complex than in the past and the central city suburban dichotomy while still relevant, may not be the best way to analyze the patterns of the foreign born. Even so it appears that socio-economic status is an important differentiator in the spatial outcomes. Money and professional status matter, as we would expect, in the spatial outcomes.

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