The Location Choice of Employment-Based Immigrants Among U.S. Metro Areas
34 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2005
This paper examines the initial location choice of legal employment-based immigrants to the United States using Immigration and Naturalization Service data on individual immigrants, as well as economic, demographic, and social data to characterize the 298 metropolitan areas we define as the universal choice set. Focusing on interactions between place characteristics and immigrant characteristics, we provide multinomial logit model estimates for the location choices of about 38,000 employment-based immigrants to the United States in 1995, focusing on the top 10 source countries. We find that, as groups, immigrants from nearly all countries are attracted to large cities with superior climates, and to cities with relatively well-educated adults and high wages. We also find evidence that employment-based immigrants tend to choose cities where there are relatively few immigrants of nationalities other than their own. However, when we introduce interaction terms to account for the sociodemographic characteristics of the individual immigrants, we find that the estimated effects of location destination factors can reverse as one takes account of the age, gender, marital status, and previous occupation of the immigrants.
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