Barriers to Leaving the Barrio: Patterns and Determinants of Inter-Neighborhood Residential Mobility among U.S. Latinos

Scott J. South, University at Albany, State University of New York
Kyle D. Crowder, Western Washington University
Erick Chavez, University at Albany, State University of New York

Merged data from the Latino National Political Survey, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and the 1990 U.S. census are used to examine patterns and determinants of inter-neighborhood residential mobility between 1990 and 1995 for 2,057 U.S. residents of Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Cuban origin. Our findings confirm some of the central tenets of spatial assimilation theory but also point to substantial variations in the residential mobility process that are broadly consistent with the segmented assimilation perspective on ethnic and immigrant incorporation. Latino residential mobility into neighborhoods inhabited by greater percentages of non-Hispanic whites (i.e. anglos) tends to increase across successive generations, with increasing human and financial capital, and with English language proficiency. However, Puerto Ricans are less likely than Mexicans to move to more anglo neighborhoods, and the generational and socioeconomic differences anticipated by the classical assimilation model emerge more strongly for Mexicans than for Puerto Ricans or Cubans.

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Presented in Session 140: Internal Migration in Developed Countries