Document Type

Conference Proceeding


While the role of immigration and neighborhood change has been studied since the days of the Chicago School of Sociology, recent restrictions to immigration in concert with state and local initiatives to both enforce immigration policy or welcome immigrants raises new questions about neighborhood sorting within metropolitan areas. Policy makers are interested in recruiting high skilled and wealthy immigrants to attract investment and create jobs for native-born citizens. Some have endorsed welcoming immigrants as a solution to regional economic development and to stabilize high poverty urban neighborhoods. Are these immigrant recruitment policies realistic given existing patterns of immigrant housing location choice within metropolitan areas? This study will investigate the determinants of immigrant concentration within metropolitan regions such as presence of immigrant serving organizations, tract level poverty, median rents, education, language ability, minority businesses and other variables. In order to answer this question, we analyze normalized Census data from the National Neighborhood Change Database using standard panel data techniques. Findings show that immigrants appear to be interested in choosing tracts with lower median gross rents, and increasing rental opportunities. They are also moving into new areas that immigrants had not been living in the previous decade. Immigrant entrepreneurship is also important for the attraction on immigrants. Local governments that wish to attract immigrants need to provide quality education and affordable rents.


Community-Based Research | Place and Environment | Race and Ethnicity | Social Work


This research was supported by the Wayne State University School of Social Work Research Enhancement Program and the Office of the Vice President for Research. This paper benefited from the comments of George Galster and others at the February 2013 Symposium urban:Disruptions at Wayne State University. Please contact the author before quoting or citing.

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