Demography

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 1293–1315 | Cite as

Ethnic Enclaves and the Earnings of Immigrants

Article

Abstract

A large literature in sociology concerns the implications of immigrants’ participation in ethnic enclaves for their economic and social well-being. The “enclave thesis” speculates that immigrants benefit from working in ethnic enclaves. Previous research concerning the effects of enclave participation on immigrants’ economic outcomes has come to mixed conclusions as to whether enclave effects are positive or negative. In this article, we seek to extend and improve upon past work by formulating testable hypotheses based on the enclave thesis and testing them with data from the 2003 New Immigrant Survey (NIS), employing both residence-based and workplace-based measures of the ethnic enclave. We compare the economic outcomes of immigrants working in ethnic enclaves with those of immigrants working in the mainstream economy. Our research yields minimal support for the enclave thesis. Our results further indicate that for some immigrant groups, ethnic enclave participation actually has a negative effect on economic outcomes.

Keywords

Ethnic enclaves Immigrants Assimilation Earnings 

References

  1. Akresh, I. R. (2007). U.S. immigrants’ labor market adjustment: Additional human capital investment and earnings growth. Demography, 44, 865–881.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Alba, R. D., Logan, J. R., Stults, B. J., Marzan, G., & Zhang, W. (1999). Immigrant groups in the suburbs: A reexamination of suburbanization and spatial assimilation. American Sociological Review, 64, 446–460.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Alba, R., & Nee, V. (2003). Remaking the American mainstream: Assimilation and contemporary immigration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bankston, C. L., & Zhou, M. (1997). The social adjustment of Vietnamese American adolescents: Evidence for a segmented-assimilation approach. Social Science Quarterly, 78, 508–523.Google Scholar
  5. Borjas, G. J. (1985). Assimilation, changes in cohort quality, and the earnings of immigrants. Journal of Labor Economics, 3, 463–489.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Borjas, G. J. (1989). Immigrant and emigrant earnings: A longitudinal study. Economic Inquiry, 27, 21–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Borjas, G. J. (2000). Ethnic enclaves and assimilation. Swedish Economic Policy Review, 7(2), 89–122.Google Scholar
  8. Chiswick, B. R. (1978). The effect of Americanization on earnings of foreign-born men. Journal of Political Economy, 86, 897–921.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Chiswick, B. R., & Miller, P. W. (2005). Do enclaves matter in immigrant adjustment? City and Community, 4, 5–35.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Duleep, H. O., & Regets, M. C. (1997). Measuring immigrant wage growth using matched CPS files. Demography, 34, 239–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Duleep, H. O., & Regets, M. C. (1999). Immigrants and human-capital investment. American Economic Review, 89, 186–191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Edin, P., Fredriksson, P., & Åslund, O. (2003). Ethnic enclaves and the economic success of immigrants—Evidence from a natural experiment. Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118, 329–357.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Friedberg, R. M. (2000). You can’t take it with you? Immigrant assimilation and the portability of human capital. Journal of Labor Economics, 18, 221–251.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Galbraith, C. S., Stiles, C. H., & Rodriguez, C. L. (2003). Patterns of trade in ethnic enclaves: A study of Arab and Hispanic small businesses. Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 16, 1–15.Google Scholar
  15. Gans, H. J. (1992). Second-generation decline: Scenarios for the economic and ethnic futures of the post-1965 American immigrants. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 15, 173–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Greenman, E., & Xie, Y. (2008). Is assimilation theory dead? The effect of assimilation on adolescent well-being. Social Science Research, 37, 109–137.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hersch, J. (2008). Profiling the new immigrant worker: The effects of skin color and height. Journal of Labor Economics, 26, 345–386.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hirschman, C. (2001). The educational enrollment of immigrant youth: A test of the segmented-assimilation hypothesis. Demography, 38, 317–336.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hu, W. (2000). Immigrant earnings assimilation: Estimation from longitudinal data. American Economic Review, 90, 368–372.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jasso, G., Massey, D. S., Rosenzweig, M. R., & Smith, J. P. (2007). The New Immigrant Survey [Machine-readable data]. Funded by NIH HD33843, NSF, USCIS, ASPE and Pew. Restricted Use Data, Version 2. Retrieved September 2008. Persons interested in obtaining NIS Restricted Use Data should see http://nis.princeton.edu/data_restricted.html for further information.
  21. Kesler, C., & Hout, M. (2010). Entrepreneurship and immigrant wages in U.S. labor markets: A multi-level approach. Social Science Research, 39, 187–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Li, P., & Dong, C. (2007). Earnings of Chinese immigrants in the enclave and mainstream economy. Canadian Review of Sociology, 44, 65–99.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Light, I. (1972). Ethnic enterprise in American cities. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  24. Light, I., & Gold, S. J. (2000). Ethnic economies. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  25. Logan, J. R., Alba, R. D., & Stults, B. J. (2003). Enclaves and entrepreneurs: Assessing the payoff for immigrants and minorities. International Migration Review, 37, 344–388.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Longva, P., & Raaum, O. (2003). Earnings assimilation of immigrants in Norway—A reappraisal. Journal of Population Economics, 16, 177–193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mincer, J. (1974). Schooling, experience, and earnings. New York: National Bureau of Economic Research; distributed by Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Mouw, T. (2000). Job relocation and the racial gap in unemployment in Detroit and Chicago, 1980 to 1990. American Sociological Review, 65, 730–753.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Mouw, T., & Xie, Y. (1999). Bilingualism and the academic achievement of Asian immigrants: Accommodation with or without assimilation? American Sociological Review, 64, 232–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Piore, M. J. (1970). The dual labor market: Theory and implications. In S. H. Beer & R. E. Barringer (Eds.), The state and the poor (pp. 55–59). Cambridge, MA: Winthrop Publishers.Google Scholar
  31. Portes, A. (1981). Modes of structural incorporation and present theories of labor immigrations. In M. M. Kritz, C. B. Keely, & S. M. Tomasi (Eds.), Global trends in migration (pp. 279–297). Staten Island, NY: CMS Press.Google Scholar
  32. Portes, A., & Bach, R. L. (1985). Latin journey: Cuban and Mexican immigrants in the United States. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  33. Portes, A., & Fernández-Kelly, P. (2008). No margin for error: Educational and occupational achievement among disadvantaged children of immigrants. ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 620, 12–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Portes, A., Fernández-Kelly, P., & Haller, W. (2005). Segmented assimilation on the ground: The new second generation in early adulthood. Ethnic and Racial Studies, 28, 1000–1040.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Portes, A., & Jensen, L. (1987). What’s an ethnic enclave? The case for conceptual clarity. American Sociological Review, 52, 768–771.Google Scholar
  36. Portes, A., & Jensen, L. (1989). The enclave and the entrants: Patterns of ethnic enterprise in Miami before and after Mariel. American Sociological Review, 54, 929–949.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Portes, A., & Jensen, L. (1992). Disproving the enclave hypothesis: Reply. American Sociological Review, 57, 418–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Portes, A., & Rumbaut, R. G. (2001). Legacies: The story of the immigrant second generation. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  39. Portes, A., & Shafer, S. (2007). Revisiting the enclave hypothesis: Miami twenty-five years later. Research in the Sociology of Organizations, 25, 157–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Portes, A., & Zhou, M. (1993). The new second generation: Segmented assimilation and its variants. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 530, 74–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Sanders, J. M., & Nee, V. (1987a). Limits of ethnic solidarity in the enclave economy. American Sociological Review, 52, 745–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sanders, J. M., & Nee, V. (1987b). On testing the enclave-economy hypothesis. American Sociological Review, 52, 771–773.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Sanders, J. M., & Nee, V. (1992). Problems in resolving the enclave economy debate. American Sociological Review, 57, 415–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Waters, M. (1990). Ethnic options: Choosing identities in America. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  45. Willis, R. J., & Rosen, S. (1979). Education and self-selection. Journal of Political Economy, 87, S7–S36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Wilson, K. L., & Martin, W. A. (1982). Ethnic enclaves: A comparison of the Cuban and black economies in Miami. American Journal of Sociology, 88, 135–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Wilson, K. L., & Portes, A. (1980). Immigrant enclaves: An analysis of the labor market experiences of Cubans in Miami. American Journal of Sociology, 86, 295–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Xie, Y., & Greenman, E. (2011). The social context of assimilation: Testing implications of segmented assimilation theory. Social Science Research, 40, 965–984.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Zeng, Z., & Xie, Y. (2004). Asian-Americans’ earnings disadvantage reexamined: The role of place of education. American Journal of Sociology, 109, 1075–1108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Zhou, M. (1997). Segmented assimilation: Issues, controversies, and recent research on the new second generation. International Migration Review, 31, 975–1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Zhou, M., & Logan, J. (1989). Returns on human capital in ethnic enclaves: New York City’s Chinatown. American Sociological Review, 54, 809–820.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Population Studies Center/Survey Research Center, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Population Studies Center, Institute for Social ResearchUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

Personalised recommendations