William H. Frey photo

Census 2000 Reveals New Native-Born and Foreign-Born Shifts Across U.S.

Publication Abstract

PDF Frey, William H. 2002. "Census 2000 Reveals New Native-Born and Foreign-Born Shifts Across U.S." PSC Research Report No. 02-520. 8 2002.

This analysis of Census 2000 shows that the US native born population is moving toward a different set of states and metropolitan areas -- in the growing parts of the South and West, than the traditional immigrant gateways which show largest foreign born gains. At the same time, a new migration dynamic is developing such that these "domestic migration magnets" are now attracting foreign born residents who are beginning to disperse from the gateways. This dispersal includes both recent foreign born that immigrated over the 1990-2000 decade as well as "secondary migrant" foreign born residents that arrived in the US prior to 1990.

Because they are losing their hold on both U.S.-born and "secondary" foreign-born migrants, mature melting pot states such as California and New York are becoming even more reliant on new foreign-born immigrants as a source of population growth. This dynamic should continue to make them more demographically distinct from the faster growing states.

The new waves of foreign-born migrants dispersing into domestic migrant magnet states such as Nevada, Georgia, and North Carolina appear to reflect a mirror image of domestic migrants with respect to education and income. This influx of foreign-born migrants with less selective socio-demographic attributes, coupled with rising levels of residential segregation, may by setting the stage for emerging "barbell economies" in these fast-growing states.

These conclusions are based on an analysis of 1990 and 2000 U.S. Census place of birth statistics, used to examine state and metropolitan area change attributable to persons born in another state, or foreign-born persons.

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