In Search of Opportunity and Community: The Secondary Migration of Refugees in the United States

63 Pages Posted: 3 Oct 2019

See all articles by Nadwa Mossad

Nadwa Mossad

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jeremy Ferwerda

Dartmouth College

Duncan Lawrence

Immigration Policy Lab, Stanford University

Jeremy M. Weinstein

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies; Center for Global Development

Jens Hainmueller

Stanford University - Department of Political Science; Stanford Graduate School of Business; Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

Date Written: September 24, 2019

Abstract

Each year the United States resettles thousands of refugees in pre-determined locations across the country. However, refugees are free to relocate upon arrival. Although this secondary migration can fundamentally alter outcomes for both refugees and the communities that host them, policymakers lack systematic data on this phenomenon. Using novel administrative data covering all adult refugees resettled between 2000 and 2014 (N≈447,000), we provide a comprehensive analysis of secondary migration patterns. A high proportion of refugees leave their initial resettlement site and migrate to a different state, although rates vary widely by origin, family ties, and arrival state. Importantly, secondary migration is driven primarily by the presence of co-ethnic networks and labor market considerations. We find no evidence that patterns of secondary migration are driven by state partisanship and the generosity of welfare benefits.

Keywords: refugees, migration, relocation, welfare magnet, enclaves

JEL Classification: F22, J61

Suggested Citation

Mossad, Nadwa and Ferwerda, Jeremy and Lawrence, Duncan and Weinstein, Jeremy M. and Hainmueller, Jens, In Search of Opportunity and Community: The Secondary Migration of Refugees in the United States (September 24, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3458711 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3458711

Nadwa Mossad

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Jeremy Ferwerda

Dartmouth College ( email )

Department of Sociology
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

Duncan Lawrence

Immigration Policy Lab, Stanford University ( email )

616 Serra St.
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.immigrationlab.org

Jeremy M. Weinstein

Stanford University - Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

Center for Global Development

2055 L St. NW
5th floor
Washington, DC 20036
United States

Jens Hainmueller (Contact Author)

Stanford University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Stanford, CA 94305
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.stanford.edu/~jhain/

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Stanford Immigration Policy Lab

30 Alta Road
Stanford, CA 94305
United States

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