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Am Sociol Rev. 2011 Feb 1;76(1):25-47.


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Department of Sociology and Carolina Population Center, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill.


This study combines data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics with data from four censuses to examine the effects of foreign-born populations in the immediate neighborhood of residence and surrounding neighborhoods on the residential mobility decisions of native-born black and white householders. We find that the likelihood of out-mobility for native householders is significantly and positively associated with the relative size of, and increases in, the immigrant population in the neighborhood. Consistent with theoretical arguments related to the distance dependence of mobility, large concentrations of immigrants in surrounding areas reduce native out-mobility, presumably by reducing the attractiveness of the most likely mobility destinations. A sizable share of local immigration effects can be explained by the mobility-related characteristics of native-born individuals living in immigrant-populated areas, but the racial composition of the neighborhood (for native whites) and local housing market conditions (for native blacks) also are important mediating factors. The implications of these patterns for processes of neighborhood change and broader patterns of residential segregation are discussed.

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