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William H. Frey photo

The Impact of Recent Immigration on Population Redistribution within the United States

Publication Abstract

Frey, William H., and Kao-Lee Liaw. "The Impact of Recent Immigration on Population Redistribution within the United States." PSC Research Report No. 96-376. December 1996.

This paper examines how recent immigration affects population redistribution within the United States, both directly and indirectly, by promoting a secondary domestic migration among native-born residents. We review evidence for the 1985-90 and 1990-95 period and relevant findings from our own and others work to assess the impacts of immigration on internal redistribution patterns in the United States. Particular attention is given to the apparent demographic displacement of less-skilled domestic migrants by new immigrants in High Immigration areas where we estimate the nature of this displacement under assumed increases or decreases in current immigration levels.

This overview shows that there is a continued concentration of immigrants to selected port-of-entry States and metropolitan areas at the same time the redistribution of internal migrants is more dispersed. Our own studies and others suggest that the concentration of immigrants is, in part, a function of their proclivity to locate in areas where there are existing concentrations of persons with like race-ethnic backgrounds and nationalities; and that these tendencies are most pronounced among immigrants with high school educations or less. In contrast, the internal migration processes, at work over the late 1980s and early 1990s, are more responsive to conventional labor markets with "pushes" and "pulls" and drawn to State and metropolitan area destinations which are not the major immigrant port-of-entry areas. However, there is clear evidence of accentuated domestic out-migration from High Immigration States and Metropolitan Areas for low-skilled persons, especially whites below the poverty line. The multivariate analyses conducted for this study indicate that this is associated with low-skilled immigration, after controlling for relevant labor market and amenity variables that are generally used to explain inter-labor market migration. Moreover, our impact analyses suggest that the immigration impacts on this domestic out-migration are considerable and would approach a 2-to-1 relationship in California under a scenario of a 50 percent increase in the State s recent immigration level.o

Dataset(s): 1990 US Census special migration tabulations. 1990-95 US Census Bureau Postcensal estimates. 1991-94 Current Population Surveys.

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