Immigrant Context and Opportunity: New Destinations and Socioeconomic Attainment among Asians in the United States

A PSC Brown Bag Seminar

Chenoa Flippen (University of Pennsylvania, Sociology)

Monday, 12/8/2014.   ARCHIVED EVENT

Location: 6050 ISR Thompson St

Immigrant populations, once overwhelmingly concentrated in a handful of receiving gateways, have dispersed in recent decades to scores of new destinations throughout the country. This pattern and its implications for immigrant incorporation have received a great deal of attention, but the vast majority of it has focused on Hispanics. This paper examines the relationship between settlement patterns and socioeconomic attainment (income, occupational status, and home ownership) among Asians. Drawing on individual- and metro-level information from the 2009-2011 American Community Survey, results suggest that Asians in new destinations face an important tradeoff between income and home ownership, and that differences across contexts are largely attributable to metropolitan labor and housing market conditions, rather than the immigrant context per se. However, there are important differences among Asians by sex, and a comparison with whites suggests that inequality differs across new and more established immigrant settlement areas.

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My research addresses the connection between racial and ethnic inequality and contextual forces at the neighborhood, metropolitan, and national level. Most of my work falls into three broad categories: 1) racial and ethnic inequality in the United States 2) life-course and aging, particularly as it relates to minority well-being and 3) Hispanic immigrant adaptation, especially in new areas of destination across the American South. Throughout my research I combine quantitative and qualitative methods, drawing upon diverse sources of existing data as well as collecting original survey and ethnographic data. I have applied these methods to diverse topics such as the relationship between housing appreciation and neighborhood composition, the relationship between residential segregation and minority homeownership, pathways to retirement for black and Hispanic elders, and the impact of migration on men's HIV risk behaviors and women's interpersonal power. I am currently conducting the project "Vivir Racionado (Living on Rations): A Study of the Economic Survival Strategies of Migrant Latinos." This project examines the labor market experiences of undocumented Hispanic migrants, the role of income pooling in surviving low wage work, and forms of informal savings groups such as "la tanda." With this research I hope to provide greater understanding of both the financial position of migrant Hispanics and the process and antecedents of wealth accumulation for this group, shedding light on the main impediments to Hispanic asset accumulation through the inclusion of factors not commonly captured in large-scale surveys of wealth inequality.

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