Immigration Reflections in the Population Profiles of US Urban Areas: Pattern and Process with Particular Attention to Mid-size MSAs

Lawrence A. Brown, Ohio State University
Tamar Mott, Ohio State University
Edward Malecki, Ohio State University

This paper strives to balance knowledge and understanding of immigration to US urban areas by shifting focus to mid-size MSAs, rather than the largest MSAs and ports of entry. This new focus reflects empirical processes ongoing since the early 1980s whereby immigration effects on US urban areas have crept inland and down the urban hierarchy, exemplified by the recent identification of “new immigrant gateways”. The first task classifies MSAs according to their mix of foreign born, yielding four distinct profiles differentiated by time era of entry, ethnic composition of foreign born, place characteristics drawing immigrants, and operant migration processes. The second task addresses process directly, giving particular attention to resettlement programs/agencies (VOLAGS), a major force in altering the geography of relocation and its spatial impact, an aspect given virtually no attention previously. In addition to systematically filling in knowledge on the topic, we propose a major modification to the standard migration model.

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Presented in Session 11: Migration, Immigration, and Population Shifts within the U.S.