Journal of Population Economics

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 507–530 | Cite as

How do immigrants spend their time? The process of assimilation

  • Daniel S. Hamermesh
  • Stephen J. TrejoEmail author
Original Paper


Sharp differences in time use by nativity emerge when activities are distinguished by incidence and intensity in recent US data. A model with daily fixed costs for assimilating activities predicts that immigrants are less likely than natives to undertake such activities on a given day; but those who do will spend relatively more time on them. Activities such as purchasing, education, and market work conform to the model. Other results suggest that fixed costs for assimilating activities are higher for immigrants with poor English proficiency or who originate in less developed countries. An analysis of comparable Australian data yields similar results.


Time use Fixed costs Incidence Intensity 

JEL Classification

J11 J16 



We thank Jenna Kawalsky for inspiring our interest in this topic, and we are grateful for the comments from Sandra Black, George Borjas, Deborah Cobb-Clark, Stephen Donald, Jonathan Gershuny, David Jaeger, Jay Stewart, participants in seminars at several universities, and the editor and three referees. We also thank Sarah Flood for the help with the ATUS data, Bob Gregory for the aid in obtaining the Australian data, and Holly Monti for her research assistance.

Supplementary material

148_2012_440_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (120 kb)
(PDF 120 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of TexasAustinUSA

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